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Complete Archive (organized by chapter)
New World View
Climate Change
Life and Climate
Ozone
Losing Biodiversity
Energy Flow
Ecosystem Change
Population Growth
Energy Use
A Changing Cosmos
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Latest News and Updates

2015-02-12. NASA Study Finds Carbon Emissions Could Dramatically Increase Risk of U.S. Megadroughts.

posted Feb 19, 2015, 12:16 PM by Alan Gould

NASA RELEASE 15-020. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: ...Droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years, according to a new NASA study...published Thursday in the journal Science Advances.... "Natural droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl and the current drought in the Southwest have historically lasted maybe a decade or a little less," said Ben Cook, climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City, and lead author of the study. "What these results are saying is we're going to get a drought similar to those events, but it is probably going to last at least 30 to 35 years." ...the current likelihood of a megadrought, a drought lasting more than three decades, is 12 percent. If greenhouse gas emissions stop increasing in the mid-21st century, ...the likelihood of megadrought [could] reach more than 60 percent. However, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase along current trajectories throughout the 21st century, there is an 80 percent likelihood of a decades-long megadrought in the Southwest and Central Plains between the years 2050 and 2099....  http://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/february/nasa-study-finds-carbon-emissions-could-dramatically-increase-risk-of-us/.

2015-02-12. NASA Study Finds Carbon Emissions Could Dramatically Increase Risk of U.S. Megadroughts.

posted Feb 19, 2015, 12:14 PM by Alan Gould

NASA RELEASE 15-020. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: ...Droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years, according to a new NASA study...published Thursday in the journal Science Advances.... "Natural droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl and the current drought in the Southwest have historically lasted maybe a decade or a little less," said Ben Cook, climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City, and lead author of the study. "What these results are saying is we're going to get a drought similar to those events, but it is probably going to last at least 30 to 35 years." ...the current likelihood of a megadrought, a drought lasting more than three decades, is 12 percent. If greenhouse gas emissions stop increasing in the mid-21st century, ...the likelihood of megadrought [could] reach more than 60 percent. However, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase along current trajectories throughout the 21st century, there is an 80 percent likelihood of a decades-long megadrought in the Southwest and Central Plains between the years 2050 and 2099....  http://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/february/nasa-study-finds-carbon-emissions-could-dramatically-increase-risk-of-us/.

2015-02-12. Study Finds Rising Levels of Plastics in Oceans.

posted Feb 16, 2015, 11:21 PM by Alan Gould

John Schwartz, The New York Times. For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 7. Excerpt: Some eight million metric tons of plastic waste makes its way into the world’s oceans each year, and the amount of the debris is likely to increase greatly over the next decade unless nations take strong measures to dispose of their trash responsibly, new research suggests. The report, which appeared in the journal Science on Thursday, is the most ambitious effort yet to estimate how much plastic debris ends up in the sea. Jenna Jambeck, an assistant professor of environmental engineering at the University of Georgia and lead author of the study, said the amount of plastic that entered the oceans in the year measured, 2010, might be as little as 4.8 million metric tons or as much as 12.7 million....  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/science/earth/plastic-ocean-waste-levels-going-up-study-says.html.

2015-02-12. Starved for Energy, Pakistan Braces for a Water Crisis.

posted Feb 16, 2015, 11:14 PM by Alan Gould

By Salman Masood, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Energy-starved Pakistanis, their economy battered by chronic fuel and electricity shortages, may soon have to contend with a new resource crisis: major water shortages, the Pakistani government warned this week. A combination of global climate change and local waste and mismanagement have led to an alarmingly rapid depletion of Pakistan’s water supply, said the minister for water and energy, Khawaja Muhammad Asif....  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/world/asia/pakistan-braces-for-major-water-shortages.html.

2015-02-10. Apple Building Solar Farm to Power California Operations.

posted Feb 16, 2015, 11:08 PM by Alan Gould

By Brian X. Chen, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: Apple is going big on solar. Timothy D. Cook, the company’s chief executive, said at an investors’ conference on Tuesday that Apple planned to build an $850 million solar farm that would power its California operations, including its new Cupertino campus, stores and a data center in Fremont. Apple said it teamed up with First Solar, a solar-energy equipment supplier, to construct the solar farm in Monterey County. The farm is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, First Solar said....  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/apple-to-build-california-solar-farm/.

2015-02-10. A Biofuel Debate: Will Cutting Trees Cut Carbon?

posted Feb 16, 2015, 11:00 PM by Alan Gould

By Eduardo Porter, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 10. Excerpt: Does combating climate change require burning the world’s forests and crops for fuel? ...While biofuels account for only about 2.5 percent today, the European Union expects renewable energy — mostly biofuels — to account for 10 percent of its transportation fuel by 2020. In the United States, the biofuel goal is about 12 percent by early in the next decade. ...The reasons for such ambitions are clear: It is nearly impossible under current technology to run cars, trucks, ships and jet planes on energy generated from wind or sun. ...There is a big problem with this strategy, though. ...“Dedicating land to bioenergy always comes at a cost because that land cannot produce plants for other purposes,” said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton and the World Resources Institute and a co-writer of a recent report that calls for a rollback of crops dedicated to biofuels. In a nutshell, says Mr. Searchinger, the energy from forests and fields is not, in fact, carbon-free....  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/business/economy/a-biofuel-debate-will-cutting-trees-cut-carbon.html.

2015-02-11. Obama Administration Plans to Aggressively Target Wildlife Trafficking.

posted Feb 12, 2015, 10:38 PM by Alan Gould

Ron Dixon, The New York Times. For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 8. Excerpt: Hoping to stem illegal wildlife trafficking, the Obama administration on Wednesday introduced an aggressive plan for taking on traffickers that will include using American intelligence agencies to track and target those who benefit from the estimated $20-billion-a-year market....  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/12/us/politics/obama-administration-to-target-illegal-wildlife-trafficking.html.

2015-02-09. Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western U.S. carbon-negative.

posted Feb 12, 2015, 10:31 PM by Alan Gould

By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News Center. For GSS Climate chapter 10. Excerpt: Generating electricity from biomass, such as urban waste and sustainably-sourced forest and crop residues, is one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, because it is carbon-neutral: it produces as much carbon as the plants suck out of the atmosphere. ...A new UC Berkeley study shows that if biomass electricity production is combined with carbon capture and sequestration in the western United States, power generators could actually store more carbon than they emit and make a critical contribution to an overall zero-carbon future by the second half of the 21st century....  http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2015/02/09/electricity-from-biomass-with-carbon-capture-could-make-western-u-s-carbon-negative/.

2015-02-09. Atlantic Corals: Colorful and Vulnerable.

posted Feb 12, 2015, 10:27 PM by Alan Gould

James Gorman, The New York Times. For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 7. Excerpt: A council that sets regulations for fishing off the mid-Atlantic coast will meet on Wednesday to consider protections for little known and fragile ecosystems of deep sea corals in and around 15 ocean sites. Environmental groups and sport fishermen are pushing for protection of these canyons .... The squid-fishing industry is opposed to the broader restrictions .... Some of the corals could also be affected by oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic, after President Obama said last month that he would open up the region to oil and gas leases. However, different agencies are involved in that process. ....  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/science/atlantic-corals-colorful-and-vulnerable.html.

2015-02-10. Panel Urges Research on Geoengineering as a Tool Against Climate Change.

posted Feb 12, 2015, 10:19 PM by Alan Gould

Henry Fountain, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 9. Excerpt: With the planet facing potentially severe impacts from global warming in coming decades, a government-sponsored scientific panel on Tuesday called for more research on geoengineering — technologies to deliberately intervene in nature to counter climate change. ....  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/science/panel-urges-more-research-on-geoengineering-as-a-tool-against-climate-change.html?ref=science *.

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