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Posts Tagged "global warming"

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Storm Warnings: Climate Change and Extreme Weather–The Latest E-Book from SA

Storm Warnings -- ebook cover

Scientific American launched its e-Book program this summer, starting with The Science of Sports: Winning in the Olympics. Each month, we add new titles selected from the most relevant issues facing science today. For November, we turn our attention to our immediate environment. Hurricanes. Blizzards. Flooding. Drought. If extreme weather events like these seem to be [...]

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Cross-Check

Freeman Dyson, global warming, ESP and the fun of being “bunkrapt”

Should a scientist who believes in extrasensory perception—the ability to read minds, intuit the future and so on—be taken seriously? This question comes to mind when I ponder the iconoclastic physicist Freeman Dyson, whom the journalist Kenneth Brower recently profiled in The Atlantic‘s December issue. "The Danger of Cosmic Genius" explores Dyson’s denial that global [...]

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Cross-Check

“Neuroframing” the global warming issue won’t win converts

Last week the Garrison Institute, a retreat center just a few miles down the Hudson River from my home, hosted an impressive symposium on “Climate, Mind and Behavior.” An organizer made the mistake of inviting me to the meeting’s wrap-up session Friday. As a brochure put it, the symposium brought together 75 “thought leaders and [...]

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Expeditions

The Return to Nepal: In Search of Soot

Ulyana Horodyskyj drilling on the frozen surface of Spillway Lake, Ngozumpa glacier, Nepal. She is studying the thermal properties of the water, through temperature sensor buoys in the depths of the lake.

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a new series by Ulyana Horodyskyj, who chronicled an earlier expedition to Nepal in a series called, “Climbing Mount Everest,” which can be found by clicking here. Horodyskyj’s work focuses determining how airborne particles such as dust and soot that settle on massive glaciers alter how snow [...]

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Expeditions

Climbing Mount Everest: Black Soot on White Snow

Smog in the air, even at 17,000 feet, near Mount Everest base camp.

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth and final post in a series by geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj. She climbed several peaks in the Himalaya Mountains to try to determine how airborne particles such as dust and soot that settle on massive glaciers alter how snow and ice melt, which could affect climate change as well as [...]

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Expeditions

Climbing Mount Everest: Risking Life and Limb for Science

The author and Jake St. Pierre on the Himlung icefall. Steep slopes and warming snow make climbing slow and dangerous.

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth post in a series by Ulyana Horodyskyj, a geologist who is trying to determine how airborne particles such as soot that settle on massive glaciers affect how fast the ice melts. In mid-April she and her team of scientists, volunteers and Sherpas were nearly at base camp on Mount [...]

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Expeditions

Will the algae still bloom?

Editor’s Note: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution oceanographer and photographer Chris Linder and science writer Helen Fields are taking part in a six-week cruise of the Bering Sea, a scientific expedition to study the effects of climate change on this polar ecosystem. This is the fourth blog post. To see all their posts, see "60 Seconds [...]

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Expeditions

Onto the Arctic sea ice?

Editor’s Note: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution oceanographer and photographer Chris Linder and science writer Helen Fields are taking part in a six-week cruise of the Bering Sea, a scientific expedition to study the effects of climate change on this polar ecosystem. This is the first blog post. To see all their posts, see "60 Seconds [...]

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Expeditions

Suspended animation

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the eighteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s In-Depth Report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA—For much of the past two months, our [...]

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Expeditions

Line by line

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the seventeenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA—Weather pinned us down most of the time [...]

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Expeditions

Kicking rocks

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the thirteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com‘s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." McMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA — Last Saturday, we had a flurry of [...]

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Expeditions

Running into an invisible wall

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the twelfth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com‘s In-Depth Report on the "Future of the Poles."   McMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA–The British group had been acclimatizing at South [...]

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Expeditions

Almost calibrated

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the eleventh of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com‘s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." McMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA (December 10) — Flying over any town is [...]

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Extinction Countdown

This Rare White Possum Could Soon Be a Ghostly Memory

white lemuroid ringtail possum

A ghost lives in the Daintree Rainforest in northeastern Queensland, Australia. There, on a single mountain range located 1,100 meters above sea level, scientists have recently found what may be the last few white lemuroid ringtail possums (Hemibelideus lemuroides), a species that was all but wiped out by a heat wave in 2005. They may [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Massacred Elephants, Found Frogs and Other Links from the Brink

Dzanga Bai elephants

Elephants, turtles, grizzly bears and some of the world’s rarest frogs are among the endangered species in the news this week. Worst News of the Week: Armed gunmen entered the Dzanga Bai World Heritage Site in the violence-plagued Central African Republic this week and slaughtered at least 26 elephants. The site is known as the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Amazing Hawaiian Plant Loved by Tourists but Endangered by Climate Change

silversword

Every year up to two million people visit Haleakalā National Park in Hawaii, the only habitat for the endangered Haleakalā silversword (Argyroxyphium sandwicense macrocephalum), a spectacular and unusual plant that is now threatened by climate change. According to research published January 7 in Global Change Biology, these silverswords have suffered a dramatic population decline in [...]

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Extinction Countdown

World Cup Picks Endangered Armadillo as 2014 Mascot

World Cup 2014 mascot

The Brazilian three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) can roll itself into a ball so tight that only a puma’s claws can penetrate its protective shell. But this evolutionary advantage hasn’t done much to protect the species from humans, who have turned savannah habitats into inhospitable cattle ranches and soybean plantations. Once found throughout Brazil, the armadillos—one [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Platypus Populations on Small Australian Islands Show Lack of Genetic Diversity, High Risk of Disease

Last year we learned that climate change could soon make Australia too hot for the cold-loving, iconic platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). Now we have word of a new threat to these unique, egg-laying mammals: inbreeding, which has put the platypuses living on two small Australian islands at enhanced risk of disease. According to research published March [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Salamanders slipping away, global warming may be to blame

Biologists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week that they were unable to find  a pair of previously common Guatemalan salamander species — Pseudoeurycea brunnata and Pseudoeurycea goebeli — and  say they are apparently extinct. Numerous other species in Guatemala and Mexico also failed to turn up during several surveys [...]

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Guest Blog

Whistleblower Who Exposed White House Tampering with Climate Science Dies

Rick Piltz passed away last Saturday. He spent decades working in the federal government and state government in Texas, and was a prominent whistleblower during the Bush administration. He later founded Climate Science Watch. I first met Rick Piltz after reading a 2005 New York Times story exposing a concerted effort by the Bush White [...]

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Guest Blog

Scientists Team Up to Talk about Climate Change

People's Climate March, New York City. (South Bend Voice via Flickr)

As many as 400,000 people voiced their concern about climate change during the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21. Held just before the United Nations Climate Summit, the march was one of many events held around the world. It was the largest climate march in history and gave the impression that [...]

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Guest Blog

In Indonesia, a Worrying Silence on Climate Change

Resilient coral. A colony of table coral that broke down, recovered and is now growing into other direction.

Dive into the limpid waters off Indonesia’s resort island of Bali and you’ll spot the beginnings of an environmental success story. Older reefs are recovering from the devastating coral bleaching of 1998 and 2009. New corals are now taking hold. On shore, local fishermen also see improvement. There are, at long last, more and bigger [...]

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Guest Blog

In Africa, Climate Change Wages War on Bodies, Not Just Lands

Dr. Kassahun Desalegn and patient

While the African Union concentrates on strategies to mitigate the devastating financial effects climate change is having on Africans, I worry instead about its impact on our bodies. As a doctor working in my native Ethiopia, I see the results of our warming planet, not just in the dry earth or the torrential skies, but [...]

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Guest Blog

Now in 3-D: The shape of krill and fish schools

Watching videos of fish feeding frenzies is a very emotional experience for me. You know the videos I’m talking about (personal favorites here, 0:55 in, and here). They feature a swirling, glittering mass of fish that seems to dance and flit as a single entity while being torn apart by three or four types of [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Humans Bring On Many Changes, Most Are Far From Painless

What happens in Vegas apparently spreads from Vegas....

From atmospheric changes, to timelapse imagery from Google Earth…our planetary presence is hard to miss. This past week has seen the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere reach a level of 400 parts-per-million, a value the planet hasn’t seen since several million years ago. To put this into some kind of context let’s [...]

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Observations

Clean Coal Era Begins

boundary-dam-power-plant

On October 2, the Boundary Dam power plant in Saskatchewan became the first full-sized coal-fired boiler to capture the copious carbon dioxide that had previously billowed from its smokestack, preventing the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere. On the resulting invisible stream of hot smoke ride the hopes of combating climate change while still burning [...]

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Observations

Fracking Woes Stem from Oil Addiction, Not Hydraulic Fracturing

fracking-in-pennsylvania

Flaming tap water comes from bad wells, and not the drinking-water kind. Folks who live closest to natural gas wells in Pennsylvania suffer ill health. And the uptick in earthquakes in parts of Colorado and New Mexico is entirely human-induced. All of these problems are associated with fracking, yet none of them have anything to [...]

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Observations

Google Maps Dives Underwater with “Street View”

Credit: WIkimedia Commons

Google has taken its ‘street view’ maps to a whole new level—namely, the ocean’s depths. Already, scientists have collected 400,000 panoramic photos of coral reefs and other marine marvels off the coast of Australia and in the Caribbean, some of which viewers can access on Google Maps. This week, U.S. government scientists will dive the [...]

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Observations

Google’s Cars Sniff Out Natural Gas Leaks to Deliver Cleaner Air

google-street-view-car

Of all the things to be leaking methane on Staten Island in New York City—corroded gas pipes, sewers, the Fresh Kills dump—who would have suspected the mail truck? But as I circled a Staten Island neighborhood in a specially equipped Google car, it was a parked mail truck that proved to be sending the biggest [...]

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Observations

Hard Road Ahead for Solar Freakin’ Roadways

solar-road-panels

Take a solar panel. Surround it with light-emitting diodes attached to a microprocessor and, in northern climes at least, some kind of heater. Sheath all of that with the 100-year-old technology known as tempered glass. Voila: the basic building block of what has been dubbed by its creators, electrical engineer Scott Brusaw and his wife [...]

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Observations

Americans Who Mistrust Climate Scientists Take Cues from Global Temperatures

Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 5.02.50 PM

The White House obviously accepts the science behind human-caused climate change, as was made clear again this week by its announcement of plans to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030. Some Americans remain skeptical—but they’re in the minority. As The New York Times reports, most [...]

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Observations

Obama’s Clean Power Plan Means More Gas to Fight Global Warming [Video]

mountaineer-co2-capture-unit

400 PPM: What’s Next for a Warming Planet Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached this level for the first time in millions of years. What does this portend? » If the power plant goes away, so do the jobs, and then the town. That’s the fear in New Haven, West Virginia, home [...]

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Observations

World’s Deadliest Fuel Made Safe and Clean?

bituminous-coal

Coal kills. When it’s not horrific mining accidents like the one in Soma, Turkey, on May 13 that killed more than 300 miners, it’s the 13,000 Americans who die early each year because of air pollution from burning the dirtiest fossil fuel. Coal is a way of life, providing jobs and inexpensive energy wherever it [...]

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Observations

Fight over Solar Power Returns to White House Roof [Video]

obama-white-house-solar-panels-installed

The sunshine that warms Washington, D.C. is once again generating electricity for the White House. After an absence of nearly 30 years, the Obama administration has announced that a 6.3 kilowatt photovoltaic installation of the “typical size for an American house,” is back on the White House roof and generating power. The Obama administration had [...]

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Observations

Happy, Hot Earth Day! [Interactive]

earthday-agenda

Almost no one had heard of global warming when the U.S. commemorated its first Earth Day 44 years ago. Now most Americans know about anthropogenic climate change—whether or not they accept the science is another story. But the temperature records for our 50 states say it all: we’ve observed a gradually warmer Earth Day on [...]

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Plugged In

Did Climate Change Intensify Supertyphoon Haiyan?

At the UN climate talks in Poland, Yeb Sano, the head of the Philippines delegation has announced he will refrain from eating until participants make “meaningful” progress. In his address, Sano linked the terrible devastation in the Philippines after Supertyphoon Haiyan to climate change. “What my country is going through as a result of this [...]

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Plugged In

These Stairs Aren’t Climbing — They’re Flat!

There’s been quite a bit of reaction to the article published by the Economist, dated March 30, suggesting that there may be evidence that climate change has been overestimated. The data that concern those cheering the Economist writers is an apparent lack of warming since 1998 or so. Here’s a video package the Economist put [...]

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Plugged In

Still Bringing the Science Crazy in NC

So you thought the nuttiest thing we did in North Carolina this week was appoint a director of child development and early education who was against … um, early education. What’s wrong with you: have you never heard of North Carolina before? This is the NEW North Carolina, with a new governor and bulletproof majorities [...]

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SA Visual

On Climate Surveys, the People Agree—Mostly [Interactive]

climate_detail

It’s interesting to see how different points can pique the interest of different people looking at the same data set. My colleague Mark Fischetti (senior editor and partner-in-crime for many of the Graphic Science items in the magazine) was intrigued by bipartisan agreement on questions related to global warming in the survey results shown in [...]

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