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    gray whale
    First gray whale spotted south of the equator
    (May 14, 2013)

    Astonishing news from Walvis Bay, Namibia, where scientists from the Namibian Dolphin project confirmed the sighting of a gray whale. Not only has this north Pacific species been extinct in the Atlantic since the 18th century, it has never been seen south of the equator. The significance of this sighting is creating excitement among marine biologists. It may suggest that the great whales are recovering from the disastrous hunts of the 20th century. Or it may indicate that the changing climate is disrupting their feeding habits – with unknown consequences.

    Read more. Source: Guardian

    factory emissions
    CO2 levels rise to new symbolic high
    (May 10, 2013)

    Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have broken through a symbolic mark. Daily measurements of CO2 at a US government agency lab on Hawaii have topped 400 parts per million for the first time. The station, which sits on the Mauna Loa volcano, feeds its numbers into a continuous record of the concentration of the gas stretching back to 1958.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    Arctic Ocean 'acidifying rapidly'
    (May 6, 2013)

    The Arctic seas are being made rapidly more acidic by carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new report. Scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) monitored widespread changes in ocean chemistry in the region. They say even if CO2 emissions stopped now, it would take tens of thousands of years for Arctic Ocean chemistry to revert to pre-industrial levels.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    Great Barrier Reef coral
    Dramatic decline of living coral in Great Barrier Reef
    (Oct 2, 2012)

    In just over a quarter of a century, the Great Barrier Reef, off the eastern coast of Australia, has lost almost half of its coral cover. The main factors involved in this devastating loss, scientists say, have been severe cyclones, attacks on the coral by the Crown of Thorns starfish, and bleaching events linked to global warming. Although the coral could recover, it would take 10 to 20 years, and at present the factors causing its loss are happening on a shorter timescale.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    Caribbean coral reefs in danger of disappearing
    (Sep 10, 2012)

    New research has shown that only 8% of the coral reefs in the Caribbean – one of the world's most vibrant and colorful ecosystems – has live coral cover. This compares with a figure of 50% in the 1970s. Factors to blame include pollution from agricultural runoff, rising acidity and temperature of ocean water, and over-fishing. By 2050, all the planet's coral reefs may be at risk of extinction.

    Read more. Source: Guardian

    coral reef ecosystem
    A fifth of all invertebrates could go extinct
    (Sep 3, 2012)

    Reef-building corals, molluscs, freshwater crabs and snails, and crayfish are among the spineless creatures most at risk through factors such as pollution, loss of habitats, and invasive species a new study suggests. Human-engineered projects, such as dam-building, also put pressure on species, especially freshwater varieties. In all, as much as 20% of all invertebrates are at risk of extinction.

    Read more. Source: Nature

    Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss 50% higher than predicted
    (Aug 12, 2012)

    The European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 – the first satellite launched specifically to study the thickness of the Earth's polar caps – has revealed a much greater loss of Arctic sea ice than expected. Early results from the spacecraft suggest that 900 cubic kilometers of summer sea ice has been lost from the Arctic ocean over the past year – 50% higher than most scenarios projected by polar scientists. At this rate of reduction the region could be entirely free of ice in summer.

    Read more. Source: The Guardian

    NASA satellite imagery of the Petermann glacier and the new iceberg
    Another huge iceberg breaks free from Greenland
    (Jul 20, 2012)

    An iceberg more than 50 square kilometers in size has broken free of the giant Petermann glacier in Greenland – the second such monster berg to be calved from this source in the past couple of years. Although it's impossible to link a single event like this to the effects of global warming, it adds to the growing weight of evidence that the Earth's glaciers are feeling the strain of planetwide rising temperatures.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    crowd of people
    The green movement at 50: Can the world be saved?
    (Jun 15, 2012)

    Many of the issues the Environment Movement has faced over the last 50 years have been difficult, but none has been as formidable as the two challenges confronting it over the next half century, confronting the earth: population growth and climate change. These two colossal problems, it is clear now, cannot be "solved"; they can only be coped with, and the coping will have to be by governments.

    Read more. Source: The Independent

    Climate change threatens to make life worse in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa
    Green decline 'may bring irreversible change'
    (Jun 6, 2012)

    With forests and fish stocks declining, water demand rising and lack of action on climate change, humanity's path is anything but sustainable, the UN warns. The Global Environmental Outlook says significant progress is seen on only four out of 90 environmental goals. Meanwhile, a team of scientists warns that life on Earth may be on the way to an irreversible "tipping point".

    Read more. Source: BBC

    The retreat of McCall Glacier in North Alaska. The left panel is 1958; the right panel is 2003
    World's glaciers 'out of balance'
    (Apr 30, 2012)

    Earth's glaciers are seriously out of balance with the global climate and are already on their way to losing almost 40% of their volume. That is the assessment of scientists after studying a representative group of 144 small and large glaciers around the world. Their figure assumes no further warming of the climate.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    Minimum level of Arctic sea ice cover in 2011
    Arctic ice hits second-lowest level, US scientists say
    (Feb 27, 2012)

    Sea ice cover in the Arctic in 2011 has passed its annual minimum, reaching the second-lowest level since satellite records began, US scientists say. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says the minimum, reached on 9 September, was 4.33 million sq km. That value is 36% lower than the average minimum for 1979–2000.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    volcanic vent
    'Jacuzzi vents' model CO2 future
    (Feb 20, 2012)

    A UK scientist studying volcanic vents in the ocean says they hold a grave warning for future marine ecosystems. These vents have naturally acidified waters that hint at how our seas might change if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. They are conditions that would make it harder for corals and similar organisms to make the hard parts in their bodies.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    melting glacier
    Billions of tons of water lost from world's glaciers, satellite reveals
    (Feb 9, 2012)

    The total volume of water that has melted from all of the world's polar ice sheets, ice caps and mountain glaciers over the past decade would repeatedly fill Britain's largest lake, Windemere, more than 13,000 times, according to one of the most comprehensive studies of the Earth's frozen "cryosphere". Using a unique pair of satellites that have monitored the disappearing ice over the entire surface of the globe, scientists estimated that some 1,000 cubic miles of ice has disappeared between 2003 and 2010.

    Read more. Source: The Guardian

    Right whale
    Whales 'stressed by ocean noise'
    (Feb 8, 2012)

    Noise from ships stresses whales nearby, researchers have shown. Ships' propellers emit sound in the same frequency range that some whales use for communicating, and previous studies have shown the whales change their calling patterns in noisy places. Now, researchers have measured stress hormones in whale faeces, and found they rose with the density of shipping.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    Arctic ice
    Arctic Ocean freshwater bulge detected
    (Jan 23, 2012)

    UK scientists have detected a huge dome of freshwater that is developing in the western Arctic Ocean. The bulge is some 8,000 cubic km in size and has risen by about 15cm since 2002. The team thinks it may be the result of strong winds whipping up a great clockwise current in the northern polar region called the Beaufort Gyre.

    Read more. BBC

    ecological sensitivity
    NASA: Climate change may bring big ecosystem changes
    (Dec 15, 2011)

    By 2100, global climate change will modify plant communities covering almost half of Earth's land surface and will drive the conversion of nearly 40 percent of land-based ecosystems from one major ecological community type – such as forest, grassland or tundra – toward another, according to a new NASA and university computer modeling study. Researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, investigated how Earth's plant life is likely to react over the next three centuries as Earth's climate changes in response to rising levels of human-produced greenhouse gases.

    Read more. NASA/JPL

    polar bear cannibalism
    Polar bear 'cannibalism' pictured
    (Dec 8, 2011)

    It is an image that is sure to shock many people. An adult polar bear is seen dragging the body of a cub that it has just killed across the Arctic sea ice. "There are increasing numbers of observations of it occurring, particularly on land where polar bears are trapped ashore, completely food-deprived for extended periods of time due to the loss of sea ice as a result of climate change," said environmental photojournalist Jenny Ross.

    Read more. BBC

    mother orangutan and baby
    Indonesian orangutan on the brink of extinction
    (Nov 27, 2011)

    Conservationists have called on the Indonesian authorities to take urgent action to save the orangutan after a report warned that the endangered great apes were being hunted at a rate that could bring them to the brink of extinction. Erik Meijaard, who led a team carrying out the first attempt to assess the scale of the problem in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, said the results showed that between 750 and 1,800 orangutans were killed as a result of hunting and deforestation in the 12 months to April 2008.

    Read more. The Guardian

    ozone hole
    Climate concerns as ‘ozone-friendly’ HFCs use grows
    (Nov 21, 2011)

    A rise in the use of "ozone-friendly" HFCs has prompted experts to voice concerns that the potent greenhouse gases could be a problem in the future. A UN report says that HFCs, many more times potent than CO2, could account for up to 20% of emissions and hamper efforts to curb climate change. They are widely used in fridges and air conditioning, replacing CFCs and HCFCs that damage the Earth's ozone layer.

    Read more. BBC

    black rhino
    Western black rhino declared extinct
    (Nov 10, 2011)

    No wild black rhinos remain in West Africa, according to the latest global assessment of threatened species. The Red List, drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has declared the subspecies extinct. A subspecies of white rhino in central Africa is also listed as possibly extinct, the organization says.

    Read more. BBC

    Land surface average temperature measurements
    Global warming 'confirmed' by independent study
    (Oct 23, 2011)

    The Earth's surface really is getting warmer, a new analysis by a US scientific group set up in the wake of the "Climategate" affair has concluded. The Berkeley Earth Project has used new methods and some new data, but finds the same warming trend seen by groups such as the UK Met Office and NASA. The project received funds from sources that back organizations lobbying against action on climate change.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    Arctic ozone
    Arctic ozone loss at record level
    (Oct 3, 2011)

    Ozone loss over the Arctic this year was so severe that for the first time it could be called an "ozone hole" like the Antarctic one, scientists report. About 20km (13 miles) above the ground, 80% of the ozone was lost, they say. The cause was an unusually long spell of cold weather at altitude. In cold conditions, the chlorine chemicals that destroy ozone are at their most active.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    The minimum level of cover in 2011 is far below the average of 1979-2000. Image credit: NSIDC
    Arctic ice hits second-lowest level
    (Sep 16, 2011)

    Sea ice cover in the Arctic in 2011 has passed its annual minimum, reaching the second-lowest level since satellite records began, US scientists say. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says the minimum, reached on 9 September, was 4.33 million sq km. That value is 36% lower than the average minimum for 1979–2000.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    coral reef
    Coral reefs 'will be gone by end of the century'
    (Sep 11, 2011)

    Coral reefs are on course to become the first ecosystem that human activity will eliminate entirely from the Earth, a leading United Nations scientist claims. He says this event will occur before the end of the present century, which means that there are children already born who will live to see a world without coral.

    Read more. Source: The Independent

    Cetti's warbler
    Climate change driving species out of habitats much faster than expected
    (Aug 20, 2011)

    Once heard only rarely outside the north Kent marshes, the loud voice of the Cetti's warbler is now delighting a whole new set of listeners, from the isle of Anglesey to the banks of the Humber. The bird has moved 150 kilometres further north within the UK in the last 40 years, in response to the changing climate. And Cetti's warbler is not alone.

    Read more. Source: The Guardian

    Arctic ice
    Huge Arctic fire hints at new climate cue
    (Aug 5, 2011)

    Scientists say current concerns over a tipping point in the disappearance of Arctic sea ice may be misplaced. Danish researchers analysed ancient pieces of driftwood in north Greenland which they say is an accurate way to measure the extent of ancient ice loss. Writing in the journal Science, the team found evidence that ice levels were about 50% lower 5,000 years ago.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    Large fire which consumed some 1,000 sq km of Alaskan tundra near Anaktuvuk River in 2007
    Huge Arctic fire hints at new climate cue
    (Jul 28, 2011)

    An exceptional wildfire in northern Alaska in 2007 – the largest on record – put as much carbon into the air as the entire Arctic tundra absorbs in a year, reseachers say. The Anaktuvuk River fire burned across more than 1,000 sq km (400 sq miles), doubling the extent of Alaskan tundra consumed by fire since 1950. With the Arctic warming fast, the team suggests in the journal Nature that fires could become more common.

    Read more. Source: BBC

    Arctic sea ice
    Melting Arctic ice releasing banned toxins
    (Jul 25, 2011)

    The warming of the Arctic is releasing toxic chemicals that had been trapped in the ice and cold water, scientists have discovered. The researchers warn that the amount of the poisons in the polar region is unknown and their release could "undermine global efforts to reduce environmental and human exposure to them".

    Read more. Source: The Guardian

    tree in town
    Urban plants' role as carbon sinks 'underestimated'
    (Jul 18, 2011)

    Plants in cities and towns make a major contribution towards removing carbon from the atmosphere, a study suggests. The authors say the research is the first of its kind in Europe to quantify how much carbon is stored within this urban vegetation. They add that the data are vital because local authorities are key in helping the UK reach its target of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.

    Read more. Source: BBC

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