Archive by date | May 2009

Greening vs. Gassing in the Arctic

Scientists have long debated how the global climate might be affected by thawing of the Arctic’s permanently frozen soils, known as permafrost. As permafrost melts, bacteria break down the organic matter in the soil, releasing greenhouse gases. But at the same time, plants flourish with access to warmer, deeper soils, taking in carbon dioxide. The overall affect on the climate was assumed to be the balance between the gassing and greening.  Read more

AGU 2009 Joint Assembly: Solutions, and sayonara

The concept of active human efforts to artificially limit or reverse climate change has been around for some years. Collectively called geoengineering, many such plans, some more fanciful than others, have been proposed by the scientific community, and several were discussed during the final days of the AGU Joint Assembly in Toronto.  Read more

Fancy a go at saving the planet?

Solving the climate problem is going to require a massive amount of human ingenuity, of all shapes and sizes – new scientific ideas, novel ways of problem-solving and fresh technologies. Those at the forefront of tackling climate change aren’t shy of sharing their suggestions – painting roofs white, for example, or burning biomass en masse.  Read more

Perestroika and permafrost

Perestroika and permafrost

Russia has been a rather puzzling actor in the complicated diplomatic game which resulted in the Kyoto protocol, and which will be played out again in Copenhagen in December. Climate warming doesn’t make headlines, and has so far not been a big concern, between Moscow and Vladivostok. What prompted Russian leaders to ratify Kyoto was the prospect of making good money from emissions trading, rather than conviction that man-made climate change is a real phenomenon and a threat to society.  Read more

Development community must accept uncertainty

Development community must accept uncertainty

Uncertainty in regional climate projections isn’t going away, and that’s an inconvenient truth the development community will have to face, says Christoph Müller of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research in Germany.  Read more

AGU 2009 Joint Assembly: Global change, local impacts

Level 7 of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is situated above Level 8, and Level 6 is higher still. Once you find your way around, it’s seems the perfect place to study atmospheric inversions and other climatological phenomena. That’s what is happening at the centre this week during the Joint Assembly of the American and Canadian Geophysical Unions, along with a half-dozen other Earth and space science societies.  Read more

Climate change: the need for speed (reading)

Republicans and Democrats have been wrangling this week over proposed legislation to tackle climate change. In the course of this spat it emerged that the former were considering frustrating the latter by forcing the entire 900 page bill and its 400 amendments to be read aloud.  Read more