Archive by date | December 2008

Contrail climate effects questioned

Contrail climate effects questioned

It was an irresistible factoid, widely covered and still found all over the web: in the three days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, when all commercial air traffic was banned from American skies, the average daily temperature range over the continental US got a sudden, substantial stretch (see chart).  Read more

Climate science in 2008

Climate science in 2008

In the latest issue of Nature Reports Climate Change, we have a round-up by Amanda Leigh Mascarelli of some of the major breakthroughs in climate science in 2008. This is a just a pick of the top five; there are of course others we could have mentioned. Also listed are those issues where large gaps remain in our knowledge, such as how fast Greenland is melting, or on which agreement has yet to be reached, such as where to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.  Read more

AGU 2008: Asteroid impacts and climate change: which is the greater threat?

What do Boston, London, New York, Frankfurt, San Francisco, and Paris have in common? They have all been destroyed by asteroid impacts—in the movies. The death toll was enormous in every case. Understandably, people are worried that such a catastrophe might actually occur within their lifetime.  Read more

AGU 2008: Uncertainty and overshooting 2°C

As speculation grows that agreeing a global deal on climate change may extend well beyond the 2009 deadline, the risk of overshooting the EU’s target to limit the increase in global temperature to 2°C over pre-industrial levels looks increasingly likely.  Read more

AGU 2008: Peak fuel reserves

Whether peak oil is good news for the climate ultimately depends on what replaces oil as our staple fuel source. It will be unsurprising to most that replacing dwindling oil reserves with coal would do little to solve the climate problem, but how much coal remains is also highly uncertain, according to Prof. David Rutledge of Caltech, who spoke to the press at the AGU this morning.  Read more

A done deal, finally

After eleven months of legislative work, the European Parliament gave its backing today to the European Union’s (EU) climate change package which aims to ensure that the EU will achieve its self-set climate targets by 2020: a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to 1990 levels, a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, and a 20% share for renewables in the EU energy mix.  Read more