Posts Tagged ‘Global warming’

NASA: Launch Mishap Ends OCO Mission

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

from NASA

Lift Off

Lift Off

Several minutes into the flight of the Taurus rocket carrying NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory spacecraft, launch managers declared a contingency after the payload fairing failed to separate.

Holy Cow! Meat Pollution?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

with quotes from Agence France Presse

Many scientists believe the raising of meat for human consumption is a major source of green house gases. “That’s because beef is such an incredibly inefficient food to produce and cows release so much harmful methane into the atmosphere,” said Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University in Canada.

“Meat once was a luxury in our diet,” Pelletier said. “We used to eat it once a week. Now we eat it every day.”

“Given the projected doubling of (global) meat production by 2050, we’re going to have to cut our emissions by half just to maintain current levels,” Pelletier said.

“Technical improvements are not going to get us there.”

That’s why changing the kinds of food people eat is so important, said Chris Weber, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.

Food is the third largest contributor to the average US household’s carbon footprint after driving and utilities, and in Europe - where people drive less and have smaller homes - it has an even greater impact.

“Food is of particular importance to a consumer’s impact because it’s a daily choice that is, at least in theory, easy to change,” Weber said.

“You make your choice every day about what to eat, but once you have a house and a car you’re locked into that for a while.”

The average US household contributes about five tons of carbon dioxide a year by driving and about 3.5 tons of equivalent emissions with what they eat, he said.

“Switching to no red meat and no dairy products is the equivalent of (cutting out) 8,100 miles driven in a car … that gets 25 miles to the gallon,” Weber said in an interview following the symposium.

Buying local meat and produce will not have nearly the same effect, he cautioned.

That’s because only five percent of the emissions related to food come from transporting food to market.

“You can have a much bigger impact by shifting just one day a week from meat and dairy to anything else than going local every day of the year,” Weber said.

For more information on how to eat a low carbon diet, visit

Green Headlines: Food Fight!

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Food Fight Erupts on the High Seas… Over Food (Full Article)
Activist launch rancid butter at whalers. Whalers hurl blood and blubber at activists.

Stimulus Package to Help Fight Global Warming (Full Article)
A new Greenpeace-commissioned carbon footprint analysis of the economic recovery package projects that the bill’s energy efficiency and conservation provisions alone could cut carbon dioxide emissions by over 61 million metric tons annually.

Australian Wildfires Kill (Full Article)
When this article was first published the death toll from the fires was 84. Today the total killed exceeds 130.

Is The South Pole Melting?

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Full Article

What would happen if Antarctica were to get too warm? Scientist believe sea levels could rise 165 feet. Though it is unlikely that it will completely turn to water, it is melting.

Find out more about global warming’s impact on the environment.

NOAA: 2008 Global Temperature Ties as Eighth Warmest on Record

Friday, January 16th, 2009

The year 2008 tied with 2001 as the eighth warmest year on record for the Earth, based on the combined average of worldwide land and ocean surface temperatures through December, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. For December alone, the month also ranked as the eighth warmest globally, for the combined land and ocean surface temperature. The assessment is based on records dating back to 1880.

The analyses in NCDC’s global reports are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as increased scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing algorithms.

NCDC’s ranking of 2008 as the eighth warmest year compares to a ranking of ninth warmest based on an analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The NOAA and NASA analyses differ slightly in methodology, but both use data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center – the federal government’s official source for climate data.

Global Temperature Highlights – 2008

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature from January-December was 0.88 degree F (0.49 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 57.0 degrees F (13.9 degrees C). Since 1880, the annual combined global land and ocean surface temperature has increased at a rate of 0.09 degree F (0.05 degree C) per decade. This rate has increased to 0.29 degree F (0.16 degree C) per decade over the past 30 years.
Separately, the global land surface temperature for 2008, through December, was sixth warmest, with an average temperature 1.46 degrees F (0.81 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 47.3 degrees F (8.5 degrees C).
Also separately, the global ocean surface temperature for 2008, through December, was 0.67 degree F (0.37 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 60.9 degrees F (16.1 degrees C) and ranked tenth warmest.
Global Temperature Highlights – December 2008

The December combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.86 degree F (0.48 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 54.0 degrees F (12.2 degrees C).
Separately, the December 2008 global land surface temperature was 1.22 degrees F (0.68 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 38.7 degrees F (3.7 degrees C) and ranked 14th warmest.
For December, the global ocean surface temperature was 0.74 degree F (0.41 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 60.4 degrees F (15.7 degrees C) and tied with December 2001 and December 2005 as sixth warmest.
Other Global Highlights for 2008

The United States recorded a preliminary total of 1,690 tornadoes during 2008, which is well above the 10-year average of 1,270 and ranks as the second highest annual total since reliable records began in 1953. The high number of tornado-related fatalities during the first half of the year made 2008 the 10th deadliest with a 2008 total of 125 deaths.
Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in December was 16.95 million square miles (43.91 million square kilometers). This was 0.17 million square miles (0.43 million square kilometers) above the 1966-2008 December average. Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was below average for most of 2008.
Arctic sea ice extent in 2008 reached its second lowest melt season extent on record in September. The minimum of 1.80 million square miles (4.67 million square kilometers) was 0.80 million square miles (2.09 million square kilometers) below the 1979-2000 average minimum extent.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

Ambler Main Street Green Committee Seeks Input

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

January 14, 2009 — Ambler, PA

Ambler is committed to green initiatives and earth-friendly practices.  In 2005, Mayors of the United States endorsed a climate protection agreement. Included in the agreement was a pledge to help educate the public on reducing global warming pollution. A website has been established to help fulfill the pledge at

Ambler’s Green Committee is looking for local feedback in two different areas:

1) Please contact us if you are familiar with any bike trails, preferred bicycling routes or location of bicycle racks in and around the borough.

2) Please nominate a business for a Green Ribbon & Gold Star award.  Nominations are considered for any commercial, municipal or educational facility that demonstrates earth friendly practices.

RICOH supports the Poznan Communique on Climate Change

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Tokyo December 9, 2008, Ricoh Company, Ltd. (CEO Shiro Kondo) is pleased to announce its participation in the Poznan Communique, an initiative by 140 leading global corporations to highlight the need for action on climate change. The communiqué was developed by the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (managed by the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry). Its launch will coincide with the second week of climate negotiations taking place in Poznan, Poland.

The Communique states that “climate change poses global social, environmental and economic risks and demands a transformational change in how we manage our global economy” and that “we must deliver deep and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.” It adds that “any credible comprehensive agreement must include mechanisms to reduce topical deforestation” as the continuing destruction of these ecosystems accounts for up to one fifth of annual greenhouse emissions.

Ricoh is the only major Japanese corporation to have supported the Communique. A pioneer in corporate environmentalism, Ricoh was also the first Japanese company to come out in support of the Kyoto Protocol, under Masamitsu Sakurai’s leadership, Ricoh’s chief executive at the time.

Kiyoshi Sakai, Chief Technology Officer and Corporate Executive Vice President of Ricoh said: “We believe we must achieve a sustainable society where our environmental impact is limited to what the Earth can deal with, handing on our precious Earth to future generations. In order to do this, we must create a system enabling us to tackle climate change actively, and altogether – that’s why we signed the Poznan Communique.”

Global warming could starve half the world by century-end

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Sydney, Jan 12 : Global warming will severely damage crop output in tropical regions and deprive half the world of food by the century-end, according to a study.

The population of the equatorial belt will bear the brunt of unprecedented shortages, home to the poorest on earth.

Currently three billion people live in the tropics and subtropics, and their number is expected to nearly double by the end of the century. The area stretches from the southern US to northern Argentina and southern Brazil, from northern India and southern China to southern Australia and all of Africa.

In the tropics, the higher temperatures can be expected to cut yields of the primary food crops, maize and rice, by 20 to 40 percent, the researchers said. But rising temperatures also are likely to play havoc with soil moisture, cutting yields even further.

“The stresses on global food production from temperature alone are going to be huge, and that doesn’t take into account water supplies stressed by the higher temperatures,” said David Battisti, University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor, co-author of the study.

He collaborated with Rosamond Naylor, director of Stanford University’s Programme on Food Security and the Environment, to examine the impact of climate change on the world’s food security.

By combining direct observations with data from 23 global climate models that contributed to Nobel prize-winning research in 2007, Battisti and Naylor determined there is greater than a 90 percent probability that by 2100 the lowest growing-season temperatures in the tropics and subtropics will be higher than any temperatures recorded there to date.

They used the data as a filter to view historic instances of severe food insecurity, and concluded such instances are likely to become more commonplace.

Those include severe episodes in France in 2003 and Ukraine in 1972. In the case of Ukraine, a near-record heat wave reduced wheat yields and contributed to disruptions in the global cereal market that lasted two years.

The serious climate issues won’t be limited to the tropics, the scientists conclude. As an example, they cite record temperatures that struck Western Europe in June, July and August of 2003, killing an estimated 52,000 people.

The summer-long heat wave in France and Italy cut wheat yields and fodder production by one-third. In France alone, temperatures were nearly 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit
above the long-term mean, and the scientists say such temperatures could be normal for France by 2100, said a Washington release.

“This is a compelling reason for us to invest in adaptation, because it is clear that this is the direction we are going in terms of temperature and it will take decades to develop new food crop varieties that can better withstand a warmer climate,” Naylor said.


Climate Hackers dump iron into ocean, tests global warming solution

Monday, January 12th, 2009

By Rick C. Hodgin
Monday, January 12, 2009 09:29
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Scotia Sea - A three month study began last Wednesday as a geoengineering expedition set sail for the waters off Antarctica. Despite UN objections, the Indian-German expedition is seeking to validate one theory on CO2 sequestering. Can iron injected into the ocean waters help a massive plankton bloom solve man’s CO2 problem and subsequent global warming?

The LOHAFEX experiment plans to spread out 20 tons of iron sulphate particles over a 300 square kilometer region of the northern Antarctica waters, a place called Scotia Sea. The particles are being added to the oceanic waters as part of a test to see if rapid plankton growth in iron-deficient waters can help absorb carbon from the atmosphere into their bodies. Theoretically, once they die they will fall to the bottom of the ocean taking the trapped carbon with them.

According to their website, the rationale behind this effort is study. The site reads, “The spreading of tonnes of iron over the southern ocean is expected to trigger oversized blooms of phytoplankton. The team of physicists, chemists, biologists and geochemists will then study for seven weeks the effects of the algal bloom on the exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) between ocean and atmosphere as well as on the planktonic food chain and the organisms of the underlying sea floor.”

While this theory is one of the leading “global warming reversal” ideas, it is not known how much of the plankton will make it to the bottom of the ocean. In addition, it is believed the carbon will be sequestered there “for decades,” but not indefinitely. This could cause a future re-release trapping carbon back in the active environmental system.

In May, 2008, more than 200 countries agreed to a temporary ban on projects designed to fight global warming change. German’s Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel hosted the talks and was quoted as saying, “It’s a very strange idea that technology can solve everything. It’s very risky and shows what humans are ready to do. I’m glad we came to a de facto moratorium.” In October, 2008, an exception was created, signed by 88 countries, that allows “legitimate scientific study” to could be carried out.

Despite the 200 country moratorium and the general view held by the original signers, the Indian-German group is moving ahead with their plans under the allowance. This has given them the name “Climate Hackers” by many, because they will conduct a study which, despite the original UN resolution’s conclusion that man may not have yet achieved a wide enough understanding to fully realize his impact, could have unforeseen side effects in marine life.

Their project will run from January 7, 2009 through March 17, 2009. According to their white paper, the area near Antarctica was chosen due to its stability. The team also needed a place where oceanic iron concentrations were low enough to have an effect by an artificial introduction.

The team will not only study the effects of CO2 sequestering, but also dissolved oxygen and nitrous oxide. These gases are part of the natural cycle occurring in oceanic water which, through the normal course of life, are constantly absorbed from and released back into the atmosphere, according to the paper.