"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 -
Stanford University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
, Mark Z Jacobson, claims that worldwide re-powering with Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) energy
, rather than continuing the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power, would save millions of lives per year from pollution, help avert disasters related to global warming, and increase worldwide economic, social, and political stability. He has a plan to achieve this goal. [more inside]
posted by Cookiebastard
on Oct 8, 2013 -
If I offered evidence that jellyfish are displacing penguins in Antarctica—not someday, but now, today—what would you think? If I suggested that jellyfish could crash the world’s fisheries, outcompete the tuna and swordfish, and starve the whales to extinction, would you believe me?
The New York Review of Books reads
Lisa-ann Gershwin's book about the rise of the jellyfish and the coming "jellification" of our oceans. (Previously but not as terrifyingly
.) [more inside]
posted by RedOrGreen
on Sep 9, 2013 -
The BBC reports
that 6000-year old clothing, bows and arrows have been found under melting snow in Norway. Earlier reports
with different photos. Meanwhile, Archaeology
has a longer article
about "the race to to find, and save, ancient artifacts emerging from glaciers and ice patches in a warming world". And glacial archaeology is becoming so much of a thing that it's getting its own scholarly journal
posted by Athanassiel
on Aug 29, 2013 -
Imaging The Arctic
: "In Spring 2013, based out of the small settlements of Niaqornat and Kullorsuaq, expeditionary artist
Maria Coryell-Martin will accompany scientist Dr. Kristin Laidre
onto the pack ice of Baffin Bay." They are keeping an online field journal detailing Dr. Laidre's study of the effects of sea-ice loss on narwhals and polar bears, with Maria Coryell-Martin's illustrations accompanying field notes.
posted by ChuraChura
on May 1, 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 -
The Secretary of Agriculture stepped forward with a big briefcase. "Sir, I’ve spent years working to develop a synthetic coffee substitute for just such an emergency." He pulled out a big test tube filled with liquid. "This little concoction is the answer. It’s just as good as real coffee."
The room was silent.
"It’s orange," said the President.
"Yes. That can’t be changed."
"Does it have any other shortcomings?"
"It has been known to cause occasional... body-death."
The room was silent.
"But it tastes like coffee?" the President finally asked.
Everyone in the room nodded solemnly. It would have to be.
The Day Coffee Stopped Working
, by John Bailey Owen
posted by davidjmcgee
on Apr 10, 2013 -
A consensus is emerging that in the past decade or so global surface temperatures have plateaued at a recorded-breaking level, not increasing. In fact the world's oceans can absorb up to 90% of all extra heat so global warming has not stalled, it is heating the pool. Predicting ocean heat is tricky, but one scientist's model
got the past decade right (in retrospect). Her model shows that by 2020 or so, the ocean may begin to circulate heat back into the atmosphere and things will pick up for us on land. Maybe. Fred Pearce explains
posted by stbalbach
on Apr 8, 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 -
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 -
In 2003, the BBC reported that a population explosion of Great Gerbils
had destroyed more than 4 million hectares of grasslands in China's north-western Xinjiang region
-- an area about the size of Switzerland. By 2005 the damage covered 5
million hectares, and the Xinjuang Regional Headquarters for Controlling Locusts and Rodents were reported to be breeding and attracting pairs of golden eagles to curb the gerbil population. So McSweeney's Joshuah Bearman was assigned to the story. His report: An Investigation Into Xinjiang's Growing Swarm of Great Gerbils, Which May or May Not be Locked in a Death-Struggle With the Golden Eagle, With Important Parallels and/or Implications Regarding Koala Bears, The Pied Piper, Spongmonkeys, Cane Toads, Black Death, [and] Text-Messaging.
posted by zarq
on Sep 18, 2012 -
While the 2007 IPCC report
showed Arctic sea-ice still present in 2100, it is now an unfolding "global disaster"
according to Cambridge Professor Peter Wadhams
. Climate Code Red summarizes the science, saying the sea-ice is "in a 'death spiral' and likely to be gone in summer within a few years" ... "The sea-ice volume is now down to just one-fifth of what it was in 1979", and paints a newly emerging, rapidly worsening climate picture
, urging climate scientists to sound the alarm on new data showing a world on the brink of dramatic tipping points, far sooner than anyone anticipated
posted by crayz
on Sep 18, 2012 -