Archive by date | December 2008

AGU 2008: On the home front

I hadn’t anticipated quite so much rain during the AGU’s Fall conference in San Francisco, but apparently this exact week is, on average, the city’s wettest of the year. Or so I heard at today’s session on how the region is likely to be impacted by climate change.  Read more

AGU 2008: conference kicks off

Over the past 24 hours, some 15,000 earth scientists descended on San Francisco for the annual Fall conference of the American Geophysical Union. Delegates were a dead give away at the airport and on the BART yesterday with their large poster tubes in tow. It’s my first AGU and it could be the jet lag, but I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed by the sheer size and number of parallel sessions; at any given time I could be at one of at least four climate-related talks and invariably find myself wondering why the session next door is receiving louder applause.  Read more

Forecasting the future of hurricanes

The world’s most advanced simulation of extreme weather on a warming Earth completed its first run last Friday – though the data won’t be fully digested into human-readable format until spring. Yesterday I talked to meteorologist Greg Holland, co-leader of the study, at the Willis insurance company’s London office – whose cycle racks, I can report, are tucked away discreetly across the street from its intimidatingly curved and purple-lit lobby.  Read more

The latest on the Southern Ocean sink

At a conference this week, marine scientist Andrew Lenton of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie presented a new model that sketches out a beautiful causal chain: from the ozone hole over Antarctica, to rising southern winds, to stronger Southern Ocean currents, to more deep-sea stored carbon arriving at the sea surface.  Read more

Progress predictably slow in Poznan

The latest UN negotiations on a global climate deal taking place in Poznan, Poland are failing to make fast enough progress to secure a treaty by next December in Copenhagen, according to various media reports.  Read more

Frozen tundra bursting with gas

Frozen tundra bursting with gas

The Arctic tundra is letting loose a large and unexpected burst of methane in the autumn, finds a new study out in Nature today. Unlike the oceanic methane bubbles that made headlines a few months ago, this isn’t suggested to be an effect of climate change – it’s the formerly overlooked (or rather, never-looked-for) tail of a natural seasonal cycle. But it’s important for understanding natural methane-emitting processes that may be affected by future warming. I’ve got the full story over on Nature News.  Read more

Pole positions

The latest round of UN climate talks kicked off in Poznan, Poland yesterday. Jeff Tollefson has a nice round-up over on The Great Beyond of how the first day of the conference went down – unsurprisingly, with world leaders calling for immediate action. [Update: All Poznan-related posts from Jeff T, who will be at the talks next week, can be found here].  Read more