Hot Streak Continues: May 2012 Second Warmest on Record

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, has released its State of the Climate Global Analysis for May 2012. This analysis looks at weather recordings from monitoring points all around the world. Temperatures from the last month were compared to baseline levels which is the average taken from 1961-1990. For most of the planet, both over land and over sea, southern and northern hemisphere, temperatures were higher. In fact, they were the 2nd highest of all time, just below the all-time record set in 2010.

Warmer forests expel carbon from soils creating “vicious cycle”

As the world warms, temperate forests could become a source of carbon dioxide emission rather than a sink according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Scientists found that two forest sites in the U.S. (Wisconsin and North Carolina) emitted long-stored carbon from their soils when confronted with temperatures 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5-11.1 degrees Celsius) higher than average.

New Study: Smart Roofs Could Transform California Energy and Water Use

Installing green roofs and cool roofs in southern California could save consumers more than $211 million in energy bills and reduce emissions equivalent to removing 91,000 cars from the road each year, according to a new study from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. Installing green roofs will additionally reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes our beaches.

Did CO2 Cause Mass Extinction 252 Million Years Ago?

New clues in a mass murder that took place 252 million years ago points to a suspect: Ocean acidification may have driven the largest extinction of animals the world has ever seen. Carbon dioxide belched out by volcanic eruptions during the Permian period could have caused the oceans’ chemistry to change. That’s worrisome because CO2 levels are rising today — thanks to the burning of fossil fuels — and pushing down seawater pH, researchers report online June 8 in Geology.

The Regions of Antarctica

Studies of continental Antarctica typically described broad bioregions, with the Antarctic Peninsula usually identified as biologically distinct from continental Antarctica. To many Antarctica is one vast singular frozen place. Later studies suggested a more complex biogeography. In a new study published in "Diversity and Distributions" 15 distinct, ice-free, Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions have been identified, encompassing the frozen continent and close by off shore lying islands. These regions can be useful in protecting local species as development, exploration, or climate changes occur.

Space Dust

Stuff is constantly falling down on the Earth from outside its atmosphere. This might be very large rocks that we will notice to specks of dust that fall and float down. Currently, estimates of the Earth's intake of space dust vary from around five tons to as much as 300 tons every day. The Cosmic Dust in the Terrestrial Atmosphere (CODITA) project will investigate what happens to the dust from its origin in the outer solar system all the way to the earth's surface. The work, funded by the European Research Council, will also explore whether cosmic dust has a role in the Earth's climate and how it interacts with the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

Another Cosmic Impact

The Younger Dryas, also referred to as the Big Freeze, was a geologically brief (about 1,300 years) period of cold climatic conditions and drought which occurred about 12,000 years ago. The Younger Dryas stadial is thought to have been caused by the collapse of the North American ice sheets, although rival theories have been proposed. An 18-member international team of researchers that includes James Kennett, professor of earth science at UC Santa Barbara, has discovered melt-glass material in a thin layer of sedimentary rock in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Syria. According to the researchers, the material –– which dates back nearly 13,000 years –– was formed at temperatures of 1,700 to 2,200 degrees Celsius (3,100 to 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit), and is the result of a cosmic body impacting Earth. These new data are the latest to strongly support the controversial Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) hypothesis, which proposes that a cosmic impact caused this event.

Morning People Are Actually Happier Than Night Owls

Night owls often wake up for work or school with a scowl on their faces and wishing for an IV drip of coffee, while morning people come skipping in 15 minutes early. However, morning people aren't chipper just as the sun is coming up; they are happier and more satisfied with life overall, a new study suggests.

Algal biofuels are no energy panacea

Algal biofuels, like crops, demand land, water, fertilisers, pesticides and inputs that are costly for India, says Hoysall Chanakya

Global Warming over last 50 yrs caused primarily by human activity

The oceans have warmed in the past 50 years, but not by natural events alone. New research by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and international collaborators shows that the observed ocean warming over the last 50 years is consistent with climate models only if the models include the impacts of observed increases in greenhouse gas during the 20th century. Though the new research is not the first study to identify a human influence on observed ocean warming, it is the first to provide an in-depth examination of how observational and modeling uncertainties impact the conclusion that humans are primarily responsible.