Archive for 2014

Climate Change Catastrophes Ahead? Here’s How We Can Prepare

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 6, 2014   View Article

Heat waves, droughts, and downpours across the United States are likely to increase according to a White House report released Tuesday — and experts say all we might be able to do now is prepare for what’s to come.

“People have this perception of this being an issue that affects our kids but not us, or affects polar bears in the Arctic but not us, and what this report really brings home is the fact that climate change is affecting us right here, today,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a lead author of National Climate Assessment report.

The report lays out how dramatic changes in weather, from rising heat to too much water on the East Coast and too little water on the West, will likely impact the U.S. in coming decades.

Field of (Bad) Dreams: Increased Drought Takes Tool on Midwest Corn

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 1, 2014   View Article

Across the Midwest, a cold and wet spring has slowed the pace of corn plantings — as of Monday 19 percent was in the ground versus the usual 28 percent for this time of year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The slow start could slash yields. In the future, hotter and drier conditions due to global warming could also put a dent in corn yields, according to a new study.

The research is based on field data from more than 1 million federal crop insurance records between 1995 and 2012 and correlated with fine-scale weather data. It shows that while corn yields in the Midwest have steadily risen, the staple grain is also growing more sensitive to drought. About 80 percent of the corn grown in the Midwest is dryland. If it doesn’t rain, there is no water.

Warming World Drives Hurricane Forming Winds, Study Says

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 28, 2014   View Article

Wind-whipped mayhem may ratchet up as the global climate adjusts to ever increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to a new study.

In particular, easterly winds associated with weather systems known as African easterly waves that bring rains critical to crops and livestock in the Sahel, transport Saharan dust within Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean, and play a role in the formation of tropical cyclones –- i.e. hurricanes –- will strengthen.

Some Corals May Be Resistant to Climate Change, Researchers Say

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 24, 2014   View Article

A new study on how coral reacts to global climate change has some researchers optimistic that at least a few of the polychromatic reefs crucial to underwater ecosystems may be better able to adjust to a warming world than was previously thought.

That’s good news, given that coral reefs soften the blow of storms headed to areas where people live, and nurture a kaleidoscopic array of fish that provide a livelihood and food for people around the globe.

But coral reefs aren’t out of hot water yet.

Monster El Nino May Be Brewing, Experts Say

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 19, 2014   View Article

Ready for a ’90s El Niño flashback?

Researchers are keeping a close eye on a giant pool of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean that some think could trigger another El Niño of epic proportions if it rises to the surface, sending weather patterns into a tizzy around the world.

That could mean heavy rains in drought-stricken California, dry weather across the Midwest and East Coast, and parched landscapes in Australia and South Africa while it pours in South America. The phenomenon is linked to the periodic warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Sucking Carbon From Sky May Be Necessary to Cool Planet, UN Says

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 14, 2014   View Article

International efforts to combat global warming are so broken that it’s come to this: hoovering massive amounts of carbon dioxide out of the sky.

A body of scientists convened under the auspices of the United Nations is giving more weight to the idea that vacuuming vast stores of CO2 from the skies and burying it in the ground may be necessary to limit the temperature rise to the internationally agreed safe level of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.

Fish-Friendly Dams? Scientists Race to Reduce Turbine Trauma

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 14, 2014   View Article

A hydroelectric dam building boom in the Pacific Northwest in the past century drove dozens of salmon runs to extinction and has cost taxpayers billions of dollars to try to save the fish that remain. Today, scientists from the region are hard at work to prevent a repeat of history at a time when countries around the world race to wring more energy from rivers to fuel a power hungry and warming planet.

“We’ve made some pretty good progress here in the Pacific Northwest on determining criteria that can help keep fish safe,” Richard Brown, a senior research scientist at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., told NBC News.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach