Biophysical climate feedbacks revealed at NASW 2009

Science writers from around the country gathered in Austin this week for their annual conference, put on by the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. The meeting attracted some 300 science writers – journalists, editors, communications professionals, etc. – for several days of talking about science and the craft of writing. In the current media environment where...

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Arctic’s big carbon sink could shift to a source

Scientists have known for some time now that the land and seas in the Arctic act as a sink for atmospheric carbon. In a new review paper in the journal Ecological Monographs, ecologists now have a sense of just how much carbon the Arctic has historically handled – up to a whopping 25 percent of the world’s carbon flux. David McGuire of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the USGS is the lead author on the paper, which...

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Optimistic economists weigh in on climate change

A group called Economics for Equity and the Environment released a report today detailing their predicted costs for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  According to this article in the Washington Post, the cost could be as low as between one and three percent of the country’s GDP each year to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm) from the current 387. The groups...

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The economics of Waxman-Markey

An insightful (if decidedly partisan) op-ed by Paul Krugman in Friday’s New York Times focuses on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill that was approved in the House but has stalled – due in no small part due to the debate over health care reform – in the Senate. Krugman points out that there are two kinds of people opposed to climate change legislation: those dwindling numbers who don’t believe climate change...

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Phenology, bees and climate change video

The Goddard Space Flight Center at NASA just put out this excellent video about pollination, phenology and the effects of climate change. Although NASA has satellite data showing that spring green-up has been occurring a half-day earlier each year, it’s a bit harder to figure out whether a corresponding change in phenology is occurring among pollinators. The video shows beekeepers–scientists and citizens...

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Study finds more agricultural trees than we thought

Sorghum grown under acacia and palm trees in Burkina Faso. According to a new study by scientists at the World Forestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, we’ve underestimated that amount of trees worldwide that are grown in agricultural areas. Using satellite imagery, the scientists show at the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry this week in Nairobi that trees cover more than 10 percent of about 10 million square kilometers of farmland...

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INTECOL this week in Brisbane

The 10th International Congress of Ecology is taking place this week in Brisbane, Australia. This conference happens once every four years and aims to bring together ecologists from all corners of the world. The theme is “Ecology in a Changing Climate - Two hemispheres, one globe.” With the conference being held down under and hosted by the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society, a lot of...

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Methane from plants increased by climate change

The debate about climate change has focused on one polarizing gas: carbon dioxide. CO2 and its portrayal to the general public is controversial because on one hand, it’s essential for all life, since plants need to breathe too.  But on the other hand it’s a greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere, and in some instances –such as new interpretations of the Clean Air Act–is regulated as a pollutant. But...

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