800,000 Years of Abrupt Climate Variability: Earth’s Climate Is Capable of Very Rapid Transitions

ScienceDaily (Sep. 8, 2011) — An international team of scientists, led by Dr Stephen Barker of Cardiff University, has produced a prediction of what climate records from Greenland might look like over the last 800,000 years.

Climate in the Past Million Years Determined Greatly by Dust in the Southern Ocean

ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2011) — A group of scientists led by researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) has quantified dust and iron fluxes deposited in the Antarctic Ocean during the past 4 million years. The research study published in Nature evidences the close relation between the maximum contributions of dust to this ocean and climate changes occurring in the most intense glaciation periods of the Pleistocene period, some 1.25 million years ago. Data confirms the role of iron in the increase in phytoplankton levels during glacial periods, intensifying the function of this ocean as a CO2 sink.

Pacific Walruses Studied as Sea Ice Melts

ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2011) — USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall.

Scientists Report Dramatic Carbon Loss from Massive Arctic Wildfire

ScienceDaily (July 28, 2011) — In a study published in this week's issue of Nature, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) senior scientist Gauis Shaver and his colleagues, including lead author Michelle Mack of the University of Florida, describe the dramatic impacts of a massive Arctic wildfire on carbon releases to the atmosphere. The 2007 blaze on the North Slope of the Alaska's Brooks Mountain Range released 20 times more carbon to the atmosphere than what is annually lost from undisturbed tundra.

Loss of Top Animal Predators Has Massive Ecological Effects

ScienceDaily (July 14, 2011) — "Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth," a review paper that will be published on July 15, 2011, in the journal Science, concludes that the decline of large predators and herbivores in all regions of the world is causing substantial changes to Earth's terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. The paper claims that the loss of apex consumers from ecosystems "may be humankind's most pervasive influence on nature."

Soil Microbes Accelerate Global Warming

ScienceDaily (July 13, 2011) — More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes soil to release the potent greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, new research published in this week's edition of Nature reveals. "This feedback to our changing atmosphere means that nature is not as efficient in slowing global warming as we previously thought," said Dr Kees Jan van Groenigen, Research Fellow at the Botany department at the School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, and lead author of the study.

What Will Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Mean for Barrier Islands?

ScienceDaily (June 15, 2011) — A new survey of barrier islands published earlier this spring offers the most thorough assessment to date of the thousands of small islands that hug the coasts of the world's landmasses. The study, led by Matthew Stutz of Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C., and Orrin Pilkey of Duke University, Durham, N.C., offers new insight into how the islands form and evolve over time -- and how they may fare as the climate changes and sea level rises.

Climate Projections Don’t Accurately Reflect Soil Carbon Release

A new study concludes that models may be predicting releases of atmospheric carbon dioxide that are either too high or too low, depending on the region, because they don't adequately reflect variable temperatures that can affect the amount of carbon released from soil.

Brown Recluse Spider: Range Could Expand in N. America With Changing Climate

ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2011) — One of the most feared spiders in North America is the subject a new study that aims to predict its distribution and how that distribution may be affected by climate changes. When provoked, the spider, commonly known as the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), injects powerful venom that can kill the tissues at the site of the bite. This can lead to a painful deep sore and occasional scarring.

Earth Recovered from Prehistoric Global Warming Faster Than Previously Thought

ScienceDaily (Apr. 21, 2011) — Earth may be able to recover from rising carbon dioxide emissions faster than previously thought, according to evidence from a prehistoric event analyzed by a Purdue University-led team. When faced with high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising temperatures 56 million years ago, Earth increased its ability to pull carbon from the air.