Climate News Roundup 3/27/2015

This week has been a very busy one in terms of the number of articles about climate change in the news. Before getting into them I want to start with a few links to bolster our spirits and give us hope.
  • Sierra Club has a really nice service you can sign up for. Called the Daily Ray of Hope it sends a picture and a thought-provoking quote to your inbox each weekday.
  • Audubon provides advice from seven environmentalists about how to stay positive in the face of perpetual bad news.
  • A new group called More than Scientists provides short videos by climate scientists explaining why they do what they do.
  • Peter Dykstra at Environmental Health News offered seven reasons to be hopeful.
  • David Roberts at Grist had a good post about a way to get power to the world’s poor without making climate change worse.
  • Cara Pike, also at Grist, had advice about how to talk with almost anyone about climate change.

On the local scene, Saturday night will mark the wrap-up of Starry Nights for 2015 with a program at Edith J. Carrier Arboretum beginning at 7:30.

Ivy Main had a new blog post about the recent General Assembly session and its impact on solar energy.

Several scientific papers were published during the past week about ice conditions in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, as well as changes in the speed of the Gulf Stream. Consequently, there were several posts regarding those papers.

  • The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that the maximum ice extent in the Arctic was the smallest ever reported. The implications of this were discussed Derek Watkins in the New York Times.
  • University of Washington researchers have compiled data over several decades to show the progression of Arctic sea ice thinning.
  • An article in the March 27 issue of Science reported that the floating ice shelves that circle Antarctica are deteriorating. They act like doorstops holding back the flow of the land-based glaciers. While it will take quite a long time for them to lose that function, there is still concern for the long-term impacts. Articles in both the Washington Post and Scientific American discuss this.
  • A new scientific paper about a slowdown in the Gulf Stream was published on-line this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. The article is pay-walled but since I subscribe to the journal I will share the article with anyone wanting to read it. You can learn more about it at several sources, including these. Chris Mooney at The Washington Post has an article about it as does the blogger Robert Scribbler. A new video by Peter Sinclair, “A Nasty Surprise in the Greenhouse” addresses the new paper on the Gulf Stream. Finally, a video on “Forecasting Sea Level Rise in Maryland” is equally applicable to Virginia and explains how the Gulf Stream influences sea level rise.
  • While the following didn’t come out this week, I thought I should call it to your attention. People who don’t think that increases in CO2 levels in the atmosphere are causing global warming often say that there is no proof that it does. While there have been many lines of evidence to link global warming with increased CO2 levels, now there is direct proof. Scientists measured incoming radiation from the greenhouse over an 11 year period in two locations (Oklahoma and Alaska) and showed that its increase was due to increases in the CO2 level over the same period. The study was published on-line in the journal Nature on Feb 25, 2015. You can read a short summary of the research at LiveScience or read the full press release from Berkeley Labs.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

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