Archive for 2013

‘Uncomfortable’ climates to devastate cities within a decade, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 9, 2013   View Article

The world is hurtling toward a stark future where the web of life unravels, human cultures are uprooted, and millions of species go extinct, according to a new study. This doomsday scenario isn’t far off, either: It may start within a decade in parts of Indonesia, and begin playing out over most of the world — including cities across the United States — by mid-century.

What’s more, even a serious effort to stabilize spiraling greenhouse gas emissions will only stave off these changes until around 2069, notes the study from the University of Hawaii, Manoa, published online Wednesday in the journal Nature. The authors warn that the time is now to prepare for a world where even the coldest of years will be warmer than the hottest years of the past century and a half.

Politicians, activists plead for emissions cuts in wake of climate report

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 27, 2013   View Article

Politicians and activists seized on a major scientific report saying that human activity is “extremely likely” to be the dominant cause of global warming— and used it to prod world leaders toward a global deal to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

“The future we are heading to is not the future we want to leave to our children and grandchildren and future generations,” Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, told NBC News.

Final verdict coming on Friday: Humans caused global warming

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 26, 2013   View Article

An international panel of scientists is expected to issue a report Friday that dismisses nearly every doubt that human activity has caused temperatures to warm, glaciers to melt, and seas to bulge since the middle of last century. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise precipitously, the report will warn, there will be catastrophic consequences. Whether these strong words will be met with meaningful response is another matter.

The scientists with the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been working behind closed doors in Stockholm, Sweden, this week to hammer out the exact wording of the report, though experts anticipate little departure from the main messages contained in a draft that was leaked to the media in August.

Teens face down flu viruses, energy crises in winning Google Science Fair entries

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 24, 2013   View Article

Emerging strains of the flu virus are very close to becoming pandemic, bugs capable of killing millions of people. This stark realization prompted a young researcher named Eric Chen to accelerate the development of new antiviral drugs that could save lives. For his efforts he took top prize at the Google Science Fair Monday — he’s just 17 years old.

“I felt like this was a really urgent problem and I thought, well, why can’t I use this new computational power at our fingertips in order to speed up this process and find new anti-flu medicine,” Google Science Fair grand prize winner Eric Chen of San Diego, Calif., told NBC News

Warming planet could spawn bigger, badder thunderstorms

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 23, 2013   View Article

As the Earth continues to warm during this century, atmospheric conditions ripe for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will increase in the U.S., according to a new study.

Given the amount of damage caused by the straight-line winds, golf-ball-sized hail or flash floods associated with any given severe thunderstorm, understanding whether they will increase in frequency or intensity on a warming planet is a key question in climate science.

How new underwater sonar is helping solve decades-old cold cases

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 19, 2013   View Article

Police officers in southwestern Oklahoma appear to be on their way to solving a pair of decades-old cold cases while learning how to use new sonar imaging equipment on a remote lake. Sonar itself may be decades old, but the imaging system that the cops were using is state of the art — and the technology is finally affordable enough for local police units to give it a try.

Sonar works by sending pulses of sound waves out into the water and recording the waves that bounce back to create an image. A new type of imaging technique, one that works in a similar way to an MRI scanner at a hospital, is finally becoming affordable enough to put into portable devices.

Nation-to-nation peer pressure may be best hope for global climate deal

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 18, 2013   View Article

Next week, a body of scientists is expected to present ironclad evidence that links humanity’s fossil-fuel burning and forest-clearing ways to rising temperatures, shrinking glaciers, bulging seas and ferocious bouts of weather. The evidence could nudge global policymakers to reach a grand bargain to overhaul how we live in a bid to stabilize the global climate. But it probably won’t, experts say.

Nearly four years ago, thousands of scientists, diplomats, non-profit workers and activists converged in Copenhagen with hopes that the then most recent version of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment report would lead to such a deal. Instead, the world received a non-binding agreement to limit warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach