Climate Change

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 »

Partially logged rainforests could be emitting more carbon than previously thought

Dead wood in Borneo. (Picture © Marion Pfeifer/Imperial College London)

Global carbon emissions from forests could have been underestimated because calculations have not fully accounted for the dead wood from logging. Living trees take in carbon dioxide whereas dead and decaying ones release it. Understanding the proportion of both is important for determining whether a large area of forest is a source of carbon dioxide, or a ‘sink’ that helps to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Read more »

Strong currents promote release of Arctic greenhouse gas

University of Southampton study site offshore West Spitsbergen (photo by Carolyn Graves, UoS)

Ocean and Earth Science researchers from the University of Southampton were part of an international team of scientists to reveal how the interplay between ocean currents and marine microbiology serve to regulate potentially damaging emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane, created beneath the Arctic Ocean. Read more »

Amazon’s carbon uptake declines as trees die faster

Amazon canopy at dawn, Brazil. (© Peter van der Sleen)

The most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date reveals it is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. From a peak of two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year in the 1990s, the net uptake by the forest has halved and is now for the first time being overtaken by fossil fuel emissions in Latin America.

The results of this monumental 30-year survey of the South American rainforest, which involved an international team of almost 100 researchers and was led by the University of Leeds, are published today in the journal Nature. Read more »

Oxygen-depleted toxic oceans had key role in mass extinction over 200 million years ago

Life of the Triassic met a choking end in a runaway greenhouse climate, heating the seas into warm stagnation. Illustration Credit: Victor Leshyk

Changes in the biochemical balance of the ocean were a crucial factor in the end-Triassic mass extinction, during which half of all plant, animal and marine life on Earth perished, according to new research involving the University of Southampton.

The study, published in the upcoming edition of Geology, reveals that a condition called 'marine photic zone euxinia' took place in the Panathalassic Ocean- the larger of the two oceans surrounding the supercontinent of Pangaea. Read more »

Sardines move North due to ocean warming

Sardines, anchovies, mackerel and horse mackerel have increased their presence in the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Sardines, anchovies and mackerels play a crucial role in marine ecosystems, as well as having a high commercial value. However, the warming of waters makes them vanish from their usual seas and migrate north, as confirmed by a pioneering study analysing 57,000 fish censuses from 40 years. The researchers warn that coastal towns dependent on these fishery resources must adapt their economies. Read more »

Emission of greenhouse gases has a higher impact upon Antarctic thaw than changes in the earth’s orbit

Scientific perforation in Antarctica (courtesy of CSIC)

An international research team led by the High Council for Scientific Research and with the participation of the University of Granada, has found that there is a direct relation between the changes in the earth’s orbit and the stability of the Eastern ice cap of Antarctica, more specifically, on the continental fringe of Wilkes Land (East Antarctica). Read more »

New study explains the role of oceans in global ‘warming hiatus’

Heat uptake in the North Atlantic. The red areas show where the ocean has been taking up more heat during the global ‘warming hiatus’.

New research shows that ocean heat uptake across three oceans is the likely cause of the ‘warming hiatus’ – the current decade-long slowdown in global surface warming. Using data from a range of state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models, the research shows that the increased oceanic heat drawdown in the equatorial Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Ocean basins has played a significant role in the hiatus. Read more »

Global Weirding Is Here - A Climate Guide to a Weird Future

Global Weirding is an interactive visualization of the most comprehensive scientific report on climate change ever made – the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. It tells the story of our future and what happens to our societies if we don’t act on climate change, and what it takes to get a place where we avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change. Read more »

Research confirms how global warming links to carbon emissions

A team of researchers from the universities of Southampton, Bristol and Liverpool have derived the first theoretical equation to demonstrate that global warming is a direct result of the build-up of carbon emissions since the late 1800s when man-made carbon emissions began. The results are in accord with previous data from climate models. Read more »

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