"In October 2013, Drs. Tim Perkins and Abby van Den Berg of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center
, revealed the findings of a study at a maple syrup conference in New Brunswick, Canada that sent waves through the industry. In 2010, they were studying vacuum systems in sap collection operations. Based on the observation that one of the mature trees in the study that was missing most of its top was still yielding high volumes of sap, they hypothesized that the maples were possibly drawing moisture from the soil and not the crown. Previously, they had presumed that the sap dripping from tap holes was coming from the upper portion of the tree. But, if the tree was missing most of its crown then, they surmised, it must be drawing moisture from the roots. ... They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America.
" [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Jan 23, 2014 -
If scientists are correct, the ocean will swallow most of Kiribati before the end of the century, and perhaps much sooner than that. … Before the rising Pacific drowns these atolls, though, it will infiltrate, and irreversibly poison, their already inadequate supply of fresh water. The apocalypse could come even sooner for Kiribati if violent storms, of the sort that recently destroyed parts of the Philippines, strike its islands. For all of these reasons, the 103,000 citizens of Kiribati may soon become refugees, perhaps the first mass movement of people fleeing the consequences of global warming rather than war or famine.
This is why [Kiribati's president Anote] Tong visits Fiji so frequently. He is searching for a place to move his people. The government of Kiribati recently bought 6,000 acres of land in Fiji for a reported $9.6 million, to the apparent consternation of Fiji’s military rulers. Fiji has expressed no interest in absorbing the I-Kiribati, as the country’s people are known. A former president of Zambia, in south-central Africa, once offered Kiribati’s people land in his country, but then he died. No one else so far has volunteered to organize a rescue. [more inside]
posted by bookman117
on Nov 27, 2013 -
At the elementary school in Brooklyn where I taught first grade, science was a “special,” along with dance, art, and physical education. That meant that students were delivered by their homeroom teachers to the science teacher between one and three times a week for less than an hour each time.
posted by tilde
on Nov 26, 2013 -
“I’M NOT A SCIENTIST, man,” Florida senator Marco Rubio told GQ magazine in an interview published in December 2012, following the first presidential debate season in twenty-eight years to fail to mention climate change. Rubio had been asked how old he thinks the earth is; it is unclear whether he was signaling a fashionable disdain for scientific facts or whether he truly did not know.
From the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency...
)(Actual Report PDF
Actual global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached a new record of 34.5 billion tonnes in 2012. Yet, the increase in global CO2 emissions in that year slowed down to 1.1% , which was less than half the average annual increase of 2.9% over the last decade. This is remarkable, as the global economy grew by 3.5%. This development signals a shift towards less fossil-fuel-intensive activities, more use of renewable energy and increased energy saving. Increases in fossil-fuel consumption in 2012 were 2.2% for natural gas, 0.9% for oil products, and 0.6% for coal.
posted by Long Way To Go
on Oct 31, 2013 -
Climate Name Change
"Since 1954, the World Meteorological Organization has been naming extreme storms after people. As scientific evidence shows that climate change is creating increasingly frequent and devastating storms, and with climate scientists declaring these extreme weather events as the new normal, we propose a new naming system. A system that names extreme storms caused by climate change, after the policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy."
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Aug 28, 2013 -
A new article in Nature
warns that "the costs of a melting Arctic will be huge", thanks in part to the likely release of "a 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates" beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, "either steadily over 50 years or suddenly". An abrupt release is "highly possible at any time", says Natalia Shakhova
of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, who has observed plumes of methane up to a kilometre wide bubbling to the surface in the area. [more inside]
posted by rory
on Jul 25, 2013 -
Scripps Institute of Oceanography projects that next month its monitoring station will for the first time measure CO2 at 400 parts per million.
Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. 400 ppm is an arbitrary milestone that we'll blow right past on our way to 450 ppm within a few decades. This is an unprecedentedly fast rate of increase and it's getting faster. Not all measuring stations are exactly the same: A NOAA station in the Arctic measured CO2 at 400 ppm last year. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper
on Apr 25, 2013 -
Recent posts here
discuss a growing sense that climate change is going to be worse than we thought. A link to Charles Stross's musing on a future that included climate change was discussed on MeFi here
But Kim Stanley Robinson asks a slightly different question: If capitalism is the driver of climate change, what happens next
? What does post-capitalism
posted by BillW
on Apr 9, 2013 -
With a database of over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs and PhD students, Sense About Science
works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence. They make these scientists available for questions from civic organizations and the public looking for scientific advice from experts
, campaign for the promotion of scientific principles in public policy
, and publish neat guides to understanding science intended for laypeople. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Feb 28, 2013 -
"A theory quickly emerged: that believers in climate science had been the main people taking Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey, but instead of answering honestly, had decided en masse to impersonate climate contrarians, giving the craziest possible answers so as to make the contrarians look like whack jobs.
So, a paper about a tendency among this group to believe in conspiracy theories was met by … a conspiracy theory." - Unlocking the Conspiracy Mind-Set [more inside]
posted by brundlefly
on Feb 21, 2013 -
How can we get CO2 out of the atmosphere? Get it out of the sea first.
Making jet fuel from seawater
is a pretty cool -- albeit energy intensive -- trick. But applying the same science to scrub CO2 out of seawater, where it is more densely concentrated than in the atmosphere -- and, by doing so, to reduce atmospheric levels of CO2 back to acceptable levels -- that's a game saver.
"what would it take to draw atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm with just this technology? . . . we would require the power of about 700 AP-1000 nuclear reactors. At the Chinese cost of $1.3b apiece and an 80 year lifetime this would cost a bit over $1 trillion dollars. That sounds like a lot of money. But its only about the cost of America’s 2003 Iraq War spread over the century, so I guess it’s a question of priorities."
posted by markkraft
on Jan 19, 2013 -
...and the news ain't good: "Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. This evidence has been compiled by scientists and engineers from around the world, using satellites, weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems. The sum total of this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming."
Overview letter is here
, Executive Summary is here
, and the full download is here
. [WARNING: Full download runs to 147MB).
posted by BillW
on Jan 13, 2013 -
It's so hot in Australia they've added a new color to the weather map,
a Tasmania-sized deep purple blob 50 degrees or more (123 F). In the USA 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded
, smashing through previous records by a healthy margin. 2012 was also the second-worst on a measure called the Climate Extremes Index
, surpassed only by 1998. Globally, 2012 is expected to be ranked as the eighth-warmest year on record, with that announcement coming later in the month. "Climate change has had a role in this,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at NOAA.
posted by stbalbach
on Jan 8, 2013 -
In a report released [Tuesday], the World Bank analyzed the consequences of allowing temperatures to reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. ... the report's authors admit that predications are a challenge. Still, they do their best to try to paint a picture, and boy, is it grim.
posted by Egg Shen
on Nov 20, 2012 -
October 2012 is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature. If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average. State of the Climate: Global Analysis October 2012
(NOAA). While $50 billion Sandy has had the spotlight, the biggest natural disaster of 2012 (in the US) has been the Great Drought
still ongoing which is expected to cut America's GDP by 0.5 to 1% for the year. The death toll from the heat waves that accompanied this year's drought will exceed that of Sandy. This Sunday and Monday, Ken Burns premiers his new documentary "The Dust Bowl"
, on PBS. (via
posted by stbalbach
on Nov 16, 2012 -