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Climate Change

— Space

Long awaited satellite to monitor water cycle reaches orbit

By - November 5, 2009 1 Picture
The 658kg (1,450 lb) Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) this week is the first ever satellite designed both to map sea surface salinity and to monitor soil moisture on a global scale. The unique radiometer it carries will enable passive surveying of the water cycle between oceans, the atmosphere and land thereby playing a key role in the monitoring of global climate change. Read More
— Environment

Research says 'enact policies now' to limit risk of climate catastrophe

By - October 6, 2009 0 Pictures
Researchers at MIT have continued a study of climate risk and released a new report to show that even moderate carbon-reduction policies can substantially lower the risk of future climate change. It also shows that action is needed quickly if global emissions reductions are to provide a good chance of avoiding a temperature increase of more than 2°C above the pre-industrial level — a widely discussed target. But the researchers determined that failing to take prompt action could result in extreme changes that could become much more difficult, if not impossible, to control. Read More
— Science

Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling

By - September 6, 2009 1 Picture
Arctic temperatures in the 1990s reached their warmest level of any decade in at least 2,000 years, new research indicates. The study, which incorporates geologic records and computer simulations, provides new evidence that the Arctic would be cooling if not for greenhouse gas emissions that are overpowering natural climate patterns. The international study, led by Northern Arizona University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), will be published in the September 4 edition of Science. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Invasive Alien Species threatening global biodiversity

By - May 24, 2009 4 Pictures
While the implications of climate change for biodiversity have been widely recognised, the insidious effect of invasive alien species (IAS) on global biodiversity stays under the radar. Last Friday was the United Nations’ International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) and the International Convention on Biological Diversity sees IAS as “one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, and to the ecological and economic well-being of society and the planet”. “Increasing globalisation has led to greater movement of new species around the world, and native species killed or stressed by global change will all too often be replaced by these weeds and feral animals,” says CSIRO Biodiversity Research Director, Dr Mark Lonsdale. CSIRO Podcast Read More
— Environment

Playing roulette with the climate – everybody loses

By - May 22, 2009 2 Pictures
Research carried out by the MIT's Center for Global Change Science has predicted that global warming will be roughly double previous estimates – and could be even worse than that. While a major 2003 study indicated a median projected increase in earth surface warming of 2.4 degrees Celsius, the new study, which takes into account possible changes in human activities, points to a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100 unless drastic action is taken. Read More
— Environment

Biofuel versus bioelectricity, and the winner is…

By - May 20, 2009 1 Picture
Running vehicles on biofuels such as ethanol reduces CO2 emissions and offers a way to lessen the world's reliance on oil. While this sounds great from an environmental perspective, the energy required to produce the biofuel and the land clearing for crops that can result means biofuels aren’t necessarily the environmentally friendly solution they initially appear to be. Recognizing this, researchers have analyzed the best way to maximize the “miles per acre” from biomass and discovered that the far more efficient option is to convert the biomass to electricity, rather than ethanol. Another tick for the electric car. Read More
— Good Thinking

The Bushbunker: last resort wildfire protection

By - May 19, 2009 4 Pictures
Australia’s ‘Black Saturday’ in February claimed 173 lives and countless homes and livelihoods. The country’s worst wildfire tragedy, this horrific disaster was an extreme example of an annual threat faced not only in Australia but also North America and South Africa where similar dry conditions are experienced. As the survivors struggle to come to terms with their losses and begin to rebuild their lives, questions are being asked about what could have been done, and what must be done now to better protect populations. Tougher building standards for homes in fire-prone areas will be introduced, but another option under scrutiny is fire resistant shelters - are they safe, should governments play a role in their development and how should they be designed and built? Entering this debate is the Bushbunker, a dedicated fire shelter design which aims to maximize the likelihood of survival regardless of the intensity or type of fire. Read More
— Environment

Ground-breaking research finds way to convert CO2 into clean-burning biofuel

By - April 19, 2009 1 Picture
Scientists at the Singapore-based Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have made an unprecedented breakthrough in transforming carbon dioxide, a common greenhouse gas, into methanol, a widely used form of industrial feedstock and clean-burning biofuel. Using "organocatalysts", researchers activated carbon dioxide in a mild and non-toxic process to produce the more useful chemical compound. Read More
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