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1 Universe Today - Earth, Environment. on Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:50 pm


Universe Today - Earth, Environment.
Earth, Observation.
Universe Today - Global Warming is Accelerating Faster than can be Naturally Repaired - Written by Ian O'Neill - It appears the Earth's climate has the ability to naturally regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Historic records extracted from ice cores show quantities of CO2 have varied widely in the last hundreds of thousands of years. This evidence appears to support the global warming critics view that current observations of the human-induced greenhouse effect is actually naturally occurring and the effects of carbon on the climate is over-hyped. However, a new study shows that although carbon dioxide levels may have been larger in the past, the Earth's natural processes had time to react and counteract global warming. - April 29th, 2008.
Universe Today - Earth's climate will slip past "tipping point" within 100 years - Written by Ian O'Neill - Nine key geographical factors have been highlighted as Earth's critical climate controllers most at risk of slipping past their "tipping points". This means that once damage reaches a certain point, there can be no recovery; the damage will continue in a downward spiral, amplifying global warming and environmental damage on historic scales. And as if climate news couldn't get any worse, one such tipping point is only a year away. - February 5th, 2008.
Universe Today - Hanson: Earth at Crisis Point - Written by Nancy Atkinson - NASA's lead climate scientist says Earth has reached a "tipping point" in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 385 parts per million. But James Hanson, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies believes there are ways to solve the problems of excess greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Hanson submitted a paper to Science magazine today, which outlines a plan for phasing out all coal-fired plants by 2030 and taxing their emissions, as well as banning the building of any new plants unless they are designed to trap and segregate the carbon dioxide they emit. - April 7th, 2008.
Universe Today - Human Damage to World Oceans Mapped, 40% "Strongly Impacted" - Written by Ian O'Neill - If we needed any more proof that we as a race are damaging the worlds oceans, for the first time, our impact has been mapped by new study to be published in Science. It makes for uncomfortable viewing. Taking 17 known types of human impact on marine ecosystems, this new research suggests that only 4% of the oceans are relatively untouched, whilst 40% are strongly impacted by human activity. The most impacted marine ecosystems include the North Sea, the South and East China Seas, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf, the Bering Sea, the East coast of North America and in much of the western Pacific. - February 14th, 2008.
Universe Today - Microbes Make the Best Climate Engineers - Written by Fraser Cain - With the rising threat of global warming, you'd think humans are the best (or worst) climate engineers to arrive on planet Earth. But you'd be wrong. Tiny microbes have been modifying our climate for billions of years, and unless we learn how to work with them, we could be fighting a losing battle to get our greenhouse emissions under control. - February 1st, 2008.
Universe Today - New NASA Study Links Humans to Changes On Earth - Written by Nancy Atkinson - A new NASA-led study shows human-caused climate change has made an impact on a wide range of Earth's natural systems, including permafrost thawing, plants blooming earlier across Europe, and lakes declining in productivity in Africa. - May 14th, 2008.
Universe Today - New Satellite Will Monitor Rising Oceans - Written by Nancy Atkinson - A Delta 2 rocket blasted off early this morning at 3:46 a.m. EDT bringing the Ocean Surface Topography Mission-Jason 2 into Earth orbit. The satellite will use a radar altimeter to precisely measure the height of ocean surfaces, which have been rising in recent years because of increasing temperatures. The data will be used to monitor effects of climate change on sea level and to improve global weather, climate and ocean forecasts. NASA said the new satellite, which is a cooperative effort between the US and France, will also improve hurricane forecasting. - June 20th, 2008.
Universe Today - Ocean Currents May Cool the Climate for a Decade - Written by Ian O'Neill - It would appear that rising atmospheric temperatures may be slowed or even stopped over the next ten years due to periodic changes in ocean circulation. As the Gulf Stream slows the flow of warm tropical waters from the equator to the North Atlantic, North America and Northern Europe will experience a slight reduction in atmospheric temperatures. This appears to be a natural process that has occurred in historic records. But don't go getting too excited, this will only pause the global warming trend at best. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts a global temperature rise of 0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade, and this trend will continue after the currents have settled. - May 1st, 2008.
Universe Today - Phytoplankton Bloom Erupts in the North Sea - Written by Ian O'Neill - Usually the North Sea conjures up cold and gloomy visions. But as the stunning image above shows, this isn't always the case. ESA's Envisat captured vast green swirls of phytoplankton bloom drifting in the North Sea currents on May 7th 2008; spring has most definitely sprung for the Scottish waters. But how is this bright green bloom produced? What has stirred up all this activity? It seems that for a short time, the lush green landscape of Fife is matched by the sea-faring plankton off the UK coast... - May 20th, 2008.
Universe Today - Potential Global Warming "Fix" Will Damage the Ozone Layer - Written by Ian O'Neill - There are many possible "geo-engineering" solutions open to scientists in the aim to stave off global warming. One of the main candidates to dim the solar energy input to the atmosphere is to inject huge quantities of sulphate particles high in the atmosphere. This mimics the emissions from a large volcanic explosion proven to cool the Earth's atmosphere in the past. But, you guessed it, there's a problem. New research suggests that tampering with the atmosphere in this way will have serious repercussions for the ozone layer. - 25 April 2008.
Universe Today - Recovering from a Mass Extinction is Slow Going - Written by Fraser Cain - With the diversity of life on Earth, and its ability to exploit every niche, you would think planet could bounce back from a devastating extinction event. Or maybe not. According to researchers from the University of Bristol, life took a full 30 million years to recover from the Permian extinction. - January 30th, 2008.
Universe Today - Satellite Images Show Arctic Ice At Another Low - Written by Nancy Atkinson - Envisat satellite observations from mid-August show that a new record of low polar sea-ice coverage in the Arctic could be reached in sometime in September. This follows last summer's record minimum ice cover in the same area. Current ice coverage in the Arctic has already reached the second absolute minimum since observations from space began 30 years ago. Because the extent of ice cover is usually at its lowest about mid-September, this year's minimum could still fall to set another record low. - August 29th, 2008.
Universe Today - Scientists Compile a Detailed Map of Antarctica - Written by Fraser Cain - Satellites have revolutionized climate science and geology. The better your instruments, the better you can track what's actually going on around the world. This week US and British science agencies unveiled the output of some of these instruments: a detailed map of Antarctica. - November 27th, 2007.
Universe Today - Solar Variability Most Likely Not the Cause of Global Warming - Written by Ian O'Neill - The gradual increase in global temperatures is getting harder and harder to pin on the Sun and its energy output variability. The Sun has a variation in how much energy it outputs but this variability is only about one tenth of one percent. The pattern of atmospheric heating since the 1960s is showing an increase with the increase in human activity (industry, transportation, power generation) and neither are showing signs of slowing down. - February 21st, 2008.
Universe Today - Study Shows More Antarctic Ice Loss - Written by Nancy Atkinson - Increasing amounts of ice mass have been lost from West Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula over the past ten years, according to a 10-year study from the University of Bristol, England. But at the same time, however, the ice mass in East Antarctica has been roughly stable, with neither loss nor accumulation over the past decade. - Professor Jonathan Bamber at the University of Bristol and colleagues estimated a loss of 132 billion tons of ice in 2006 from West Antarctica - up from about 83 billion tons in 1996 - and a loss of about 60 billion tons in 2006 from the Antarctic Peninsula. - January 16th, 2008.
Universe Today - The Environmental Impact of a Return to the Moon - Written by Fraser Cain - There are many ways space exploration can affect our environment right here on Earth: toxic chemicals used to manufacture the rocket, carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere and the energy used to manufacture the equipment and vehicles, just to name a few. For the next era in space exploration, the Constellation Program, NASA has released a 500-page document detailing its effect on the environment. - January 31st, 2008.
Universe Today - There is No Sun-Link with Global Warming - Written by Ian O'Neill - The connection between solar activity and global warming has been a contentious issue for a long time. The idea that cosmic rays create global cloud cover just doesn't seem to be working out; even the highest estimates of cloud cover variation caused by cosmic ray flux predict the effect to be very small. Now UK scientists have stepped into the debate, producing scientific evidence that there is no link between global warming, cosmic rays and solar activity. - April 3rd, 2008.
Universe Today - Wilkins Ice Shelf Continues Break-up, Even During Winter - Written by Nancy Atkinson - Satellite images reveal the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica has experienced further break-up with an area of about 160 square kilometers breaking off during May 30 -31, 2008. ESA’s Envisat satellite captured the event. This is the first ever-documented episode to occur during the Antarctic winter. The animation here, comprised of images acquired by Envisat’s Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) between May 30 and June 9, highlights the rapidly dwindling strip of ice that is protecting thousands of kilometers of the ice shelf from further break-up. - June 13th, 2008.
Universe Today - Wind Power From the Ocean (With Help from Space) - Written by Nancy Atkinson - drive regularly through Iowa and southern Minnesota in the US, and over the past few years wind farms have been popping up in that region up almost faster than corn grows. These massive wind turbines are awesome to see. But there may be an even better location for future wind farms than the breezy plains of the central United States: our oceans. Experts say ocean winds blow harder and with more reliable consistency than wind on land, which more than offsets the greater cost of building windmills offshore. Efforts to harness the energy potential of Earth's ocean winds could soon gain an important new tool: global satellite maps from NASA. Scientists have been creating maps using nearly a decade of data from NASA's QuikSCAT satellite that reveal ocean areas where winds could produce wind energy. - July 9th, 2008.
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Wind Power From the Ocean (With Help from Space) - Ocean Wind Turbines - Source Universe Today

Universe Today - World Needs to Aim for Near-Zero Carbon Emissions - Written by Fraser Cain - If we really want to combat climate change, how much carbon can we reasonably generate? How much will still push temperatures up? The current presidential candidates are all calling for serious carbon reductions over the next 40 years, but according to researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science, it's not enough. To really stabilize our planet's climate, we need to get away from carbon forever. - February 18th, 2008.
University of Bristol Press Release - Antarctic ice loss - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - Increasing amounts of ice mass have been lost from West Antarctica - Increasing amounts of ice mass have been lost from West Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula over the past ten years, according to research from the University of Bristol and published online this week in Nature Geoscience. - Meanwhile the ice mass in East Antarctica has been roughly stable, with neither loss nor accumulation over the past decade. - Professor Jonathan Bamber at the University of Bristol and colleagues estimated the flux of ice from the ice sheet into the ocean from satellite data that cover 85% of Antarctica's coastline, which they compared with simulations of snow accumulation over the same period, obtained using a regional climate model.
UWE News 2008 - 'Issues of Tidal Energy Capture in the Severn Estuary' - Issue date: 24/06/2008 - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - 'Not a bore! Issues of Tidal Energy Capture in the Severn Estuary' - Science Café at UWE on Monday 30 June 2008 18:00 to 19:30 - What are the key issues and what are the impacts of developing tidal power in the Severn Estuary? What are your views on the options or the idea of harnessing energy from the estuary? Is this an appropriate way to reduce carbon emissions? What about the ecological impacts? Is this appropriate regional development? - A Science Café has been organised at the University of the West of England on Monday 30 June 2008 to explore the issues surrounding the development of tidal power in the Severn Estuary. The event is open to anyone who is interested in learning more and taking part in a discussion about this issue that is of vital importance to the region. The outcomes from this event will help shape the agenda of a larger Public Forum being planned in October 2008. - The Science Café is taking place at the One Zone, Room 2E27 at UWE's Frenchay Campus.
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UWE - Science Event - Issues of Tidal Energy Capture in the Severn Estuary

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