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Deep oceans can mask global warming for decade-long periods

Oceans at times may absorb enough heat to flatten the rate of global warming The planet's deep oceans at times may absorb enough heat to flatten the rate of global warming for periods of as long as a decade even in the midst of longer-term warming, according to a new analysis led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).The study, based on computer simulations of global climate, points to ocean layers deeper than 1,000 feet (300 meters) as the main location of the "missing heat" during periods such as the past decade when global air temperatures showed little trend. The findings also suggest that several more intervals like this can be expected over the next century, even as the trend toward overall warming continues."We will see global warming go through hiatus periods in the future," says NCAR's Gerald Meehl, lead author of the study. "However, these periods would likely last only about a decade or so, and warming would then resume. This study illustrates one reason why global temperatures do not simply rise in a straight line."The research, by scientists at NCAR and the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, will be published online in Nature Climate Change. Funding for ...

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Soot is second most important factor in global warming

Reducing soot emissions could slow melting of sea ice in the Arctic faster Soot particles in the atmosphere are now emerging as the second most important, but previously overlooked, factor in global warming, according to an American Chemical Society (ACS) press release. Stanford University research scientist Mark Jacobson has told an ACS meeting that reducing soot emissions from diesel engines and other sources could slow melting of sea ice in the Arctic faster and more economically than any other quick fix.Speaking at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Dr Jacobson cited concerns that continued melting of sea ice above the Arctic Circle will be a tipping point for the Earth's climate, a point of no return. That is because the ice, which reflects sunlight and heat back into space, would give way to darker water that absorbs heat and exacerbates warming. And, he noted, there is no known way to make the sea refreeze in the short term.While there has been concern at the effects of soot on global temperatures for some time, and particularly with respect its impact on Arctic ice melt, there has been a view in shipping industry circles that the ...

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Warming Ocean Could Melt Ice Faster Than Thought

Warming water beneath the ice will cause problems Warming air from climate change isn't the only thing that will speed ice melting near the poles - so will the warming water beneath the ice, a new study points out.Increased melting of ice in Greenland and parts of Antarctica has been reported as a consequence of global warming, potentially raising sea levels. But little attention has been paid to the impact of warmer water beneath the ice.Now, Jianjun Yin of the University of Arizona and colleagues report the warming water could mean polar ice melting faster than had been expected. Their report was published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.While melting floating ice won't raise sea level, ice flowing into the sea from glaciers often reaches the bottom, and grounded ice melted by warm water around it can produce added water to the sea."Ocean warming is very important compared to atmospheric warming because water has a much larger heat capacity than air," Yin explained. "If you put an ice cube in a warm room, it will melt in several hours. But if you put an ice cube in a cup of warm water, it will disappear in just minutes."In addition, Yin ...

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Global Warming threatens polar bears

Needs more protection under the Endangered Species Act A federal judge is upholding a decision by government scientists that global warming is threatening the polar bear's survival.U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Thursday ruled that a May 2008 decision to place the bear on the endangered species list as threatened because of melting sea ice was rational based on science.Environmental groups had sued, saying the polar bear needs more protection under the Endangered Species Act. The state of Alaska and hunting groups argued that the listing was unnecessary since the bear is protected by other laws.Sullivan said the arguments amounted to nothing more than competing views about policy and science.Another lawsuit still pending challenges a decision that said the bears' status couldn't be used to regulate greenhouse gases outside of where it lives.Source: Huffington Post

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The climate of the world continues to warm

Extreme weather events are becoming more likely The world's climate is not only continuing to warm, it's adding heat-trapping greenhouse gases even faster than in the past, researchers said Tuesday.Indeed, the global temperature has been warmer than the 20th century average every month for more than 25 years, they said at a teleconference."The indicators show unequivocally that the world continues to warm," Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center, said in releasing the annual State of the Climate report for 2010."There is a clear and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans," added Peter Thorne of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina State University.Carbon dioxide increased by 2.60 parts per million in the atmosphere in 2010, which is more than the average annual increase seen from 1980-2010, Karl added. Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas accumulating in the air that atmospheric scientists blame for warming the climate.The warmer conditions are consistent with events such as heat waves and extreme rainfall, Karl said at a teleconference. However, it is more difficult to make a direct connection with things like tornado outbreaks, he said."Any single weather event is ...

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Fears for the marine life of Baltic

Global warming decreases the salt in the sea Climate change will turn the Baltic Sea into an increasingly freshwater sea and devastate its marine life, according to scientists.A multinational study has found that an increase in precipitation in the region would lead the water in the Baltic to become less salty. Such a decrease in salinity would change the make-up of sea life, which is already suffering from over-fishing and harmful chemicals.Professor Chris Reid, of the Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, who was involved in the study, said: "Due to global warming, it is predicted there will be an increase in precipitation in the river basins that flow into the Baltic Sea. As a result - because it's an enclosed sea with a very narrow exit - the sea will become fresher. We predict this will happen over the next 100 years."Transformations to the Baltic's ecosystem is among a number changes reported in the research project, led by Climate Change & European Marine Ecosystem Research (Clamer) which has collated more than 13 years' worth of reports, involving 17 marine institutes from 10 European countries.Another alarming discovery is the arrival of a new species of plankton in the north Atlantic from ...

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Global warming will limit access in Arctic by land but improve by sea

Over the next 40 years as sea ice continues to melt Global warming over the next 40 years will cut through Arctic transportation networks like a double-edged sword, limiting access in certain areas and vastly increasing it in others, a new UCLA study predicts.As sea ice continues to melt, accessibility by sea will increase, but the viability of an important network of roads that depend on freezing temperatures is threatened by a warming climate," said Scott Stephenson, a UCLA graduate student in geography and the study's lead author.Winners are expected to be coastal communities, coastal resource-extraction operations, tourism, fishing, and shipping concerns, the researchers say. Potential losers include inland mining and timber operations, inland oil and gas drilling, and smaller inland communities, often inhabited by indigenous peoples.Even northern Canada's famed Tibbitt-Contwoyto "diamond road," said to be the world's most lucrative ice road, is expected to suffer, according to the researchers.The findings appear in the current issue of the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Nature Climate Change."Popular perception holds that climate warming will mean an opening up of the Arctic, but our study shows that this is only partly so," said co-author Laurence C. Smith, a UCLA professor of geography and author of ...

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Global warming will have a devastating effect on roads in the Arctic

Accessibility by sea will increase Global warming will have a devastating effect on roads in the Arctic but open up tantalising routes for shipping, according to a study published on Sunday in the specialist journal Nature Climate Change."As sea ice continues to melt, accessibility by sea will increase, but the viability of an important network of roads that depend on freezing temperatures is threatened by a warming climate," said Scott Stephenson of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).Previous research has already pinpointed the Arctic as one of the world's most climate-sensitive areas.Four consecutive years of shrinking summer sea ice have fired talk of new, cost-saving ocean links between Europe and Asia and prospects of a scramble to exploit the region's wealth of oil, gas and precious minerals.The new study is the first to look in detail at the implications of this for transporters.Stephenson's team devised a computer model about accessibility to the Arctic and combined it with climate simulations used by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).The simulations are based on expected temperature increases of 2.0-3.4 degrees Celsius (3.6-6.2 degrees Fahrenheit) overall in the Arctic by 2050, with an even greater rise in winter of 4-6 C ...

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The twenty-first century will experience a fight for resources

Resource wars are possible as global warming melts polar ice It is considered the final frontier for oil and gas exploitation, and secret US embassy cables published by WikiLeaks confirm that nations are battling to "carve up" the Arctic's vast resources."The twenty-first century will see a fight for resources," Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying in a 2010 cable. "Russia should not be defeated in this fight."Along with exposing an estimated 22 per cent of the world's oil, ice meltingdue to global warmingwill open new shipping lanes, the arteries of global commerce, which nations are competing to control. And Russia certainly is not the only country eyeing the frozen prize.Per Stig Moller, then Danish foreign minister, mused in a 2009 cable that "new shipping routes and natural resource discoveries would eventually place the region at the centre of world politics".Canada, the US, Russia, Norway, Denmark, and perhaps even China, have competing claims to the Arctic, a region about the size of Africa, comprising some six per cent of the Earth's surface.'Resource wars'"The WikiLeaks cables show us realpolitik in its rarest form," says Paul Wapner, director of the global environmental politics programme at American University in Washington. ...

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