Climate Change

Study reveals disturbing hunger trends in world's highland areas

While global hunger figures are decreasing, the number of food insecure people in mountain areas rose 30 percent between 2000 and 2012, according to a new study, released today by FAO and the Mountain Partnership on International Mountain Day. Read more »

Ancient fossil forest unearthed in Arctic Norway

Reconstructed drawing of fossil forest in Svalbard

UK researchers have unearthed ancient fossil forests, thought to be partly responsible for one of the most dramatic shifts in the Earth’s climate in the past 400 million years. The fossil forests, with tree stumps preserved in place, were found in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago situated in the Arctic Ocean. They were identified and described by Dr Chris Berry of Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Science. Read more »

Scientists solve deep ocean carbon riddle

Vent chimney at the Von Damm vent site in the Caribbean.

New research involving scientists from University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) has identified a crucial process behind the reason why dissolved organic carbon (DOC) levels in the deep oceans are constant despite a continuous supply from the surface ocean.

The pool of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the oceans is as large as all of the carbon in the atmosphere. Phytoplankton, which remove CO2 from the atmosphere and convert into more complex carbon compounds, are the primary source of DOC in the ocean. Read more »

Melting Arctic sea ice accelerates methane emissions

Svalbard. © Frans-Jan Parmentier

Methane emissions from Arctic tundra increase when sea ice melts, according to a new study from Lund University in Sweden. This connection has been suspected before, but has lacked strong evidence until now. “Changes in the Arctic Ocean can affect ecosystems located far away on land, ” says Dr. Frans-Jan Parmentier, the study’s lead author and researcher at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University. Read more »

Receding snowpack highlights impacts of California drought

A sparse covering of snow on the Sierra Nevada in California (Image: oliver.dodd via Flickr)

The snowpack on the Sierra Nevada range between California and Nevada is lower than at any time in the last 500 years. Researchers report in Nature Climate Change that the level of snow at the end of March on the high hills was just one-twentieth of the average for the last half century.

Snow is winter rain that doesn’t run off the hills immediately. So in Mediterranean climates − characterised by winter rainfall and warm, dry summers − the snowpack is a vital resource. Read more »

Mangroves help protect against sea level rise

Mangrove forests could play a crucial role in protecting coastal areas from sea level rise caused by climate change, according to new research involving the University of Southampton. A joint study between researchers at the University of Southampton along with colleagues from the Universities of Auckland and Waikato in New Zealand used leading-edge mathematical simulations to study how mangrove forests respond to elevated sea levels. Read more »

Ocean travellers are best able to adapt to warming waters and climate change

The urchin, Centrostephanus rodgersii, has moved into the waters of Tasmania, forming extensive rock barrens, leading to large-scale community change. © Rick Stuart-Smith

Marine species that already roam far and wide throughout our oceans are extending their territories further and faster in response to climate change, according to new research involving the University of Southampton and an international team of biodiversity experts.

The study found that while species that have large ranges are able to make their way to cooler waters, small-ranging species are in increased jeopardy as our planet’s oceans continue to warm. Read more »

Climate change may knock seafood off the menu

Pink salmon is one of the species jeopardised by the impact of carbon dioxide emissions. (Image: NOAA Fisheries via Flickr.com)

Pink salmon – the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific salmon species, and a supper table mainstay in many parts of the world – may be swimming towards trouble. And they are not the only dish likely to disappear from the menu. Mussels, oysters, clam and scallop could all become scarcer and more expensive as the seas become more acid. And as the world’s waters warm, fish will start to migrate away from their normal grounds at an ever-increasing rate. Read more »

Survey reveals the polarized public perceptions of the Polar regions

A fascinating new academic study suggests that peoples’ political orientation affects their perceptions and knowledge regarding basic facts about the North and South Poles.
Writing in Polar Geography, Lawrence Hamilton, Senior Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire, examines the results of a series of New Hampshire state surveys conducted from 2011 to 2015 that tracked public knowledge of some basic polar facts.
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Global freshwater consumption crossing its planetary boundary

Planetary boundaries have been proposed to describe a safe operating space for humanity and human consumption of freshwater is used as the control variable for the freshwater planetary boundary. But new research from Stockholm University shows that global freshwater consumption has already pushed beyond its safe limit. Read more »

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