Friday, July 16, 2010

Sea Level Rise Will Vary

Sea-Level Rise Will Be Worse For Some, We Just Don’t Know Who

The Seychelles could see up to ten percent more sea-level rise than the global average. Or the sea level around the islands could drop. It depends on who you ask.
The fact that oceans will rise in a warming world is well established, but depending on how wind patterns change, climate change could mean quick inundation or more beach space for different coastlines. Wind patterns maintain height differences between different regions of the ocean, and if altered or intensified, they would push water from one part of the ocean to another.
The resulting sea-level changes could be up to thirty percent more, or less, than the global average in some regions, says oceanographer Axel Timmermann.
The problem is that scientists are just beginning to understand what will happen to climate at scales smaller than entire continents or ocean basins.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Protecting the Lifeline of the West

How Climate and Clean Energy Policies Can Safeguard Water

Thermoelectric power plants in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah consumed an estimated 292 million gallons of water a day (MGD) in 2005 — approximately equal to the water consumed by Denver, Phoenix, and Albuquerque, combined.

In the Colorado River Basin, climate change issues could not be more pressing. The river supplies water to over 30 million people and 1.4 million acres of farmland, but an 11-year drought in the basin has left the two main reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, at only 55% of their total capacity.
Since it started its water conservation program in 1994, Albuquerque’s water utility has saved over 136 billion gallons of water and over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Xcel Energy has invested heavily in wind power – it now has over 1200 MW of wind power on the ground in Colorado, which saves – each year – approximately 1.6 billion gallons of water.
Water is the lifeline of the West, and is essential to sustaining our people, economy, rivers, and wildlife. But climate change threatens the West’s already tight water supplies, and will exacerbate the challenge of meeting urban, agricultural, and environmental water needs. Federal legislation that caps greenhouse gas emissions will not only diminish the specter of a drier future, it can provide a new water supply to the parched West by freeing the vast quantities of water currently consumed by dirty forms of energy.
A new report by Western Resource Advocates and Environmental Defense Fund,"Protecting the Lifeline of the West: How Climate and Energy Policies Can Safeguard Water", illustrates why legislation is needed to curtail the risk unmitigated climate change poses to western water supplies and highlights the inextricable links between energy and water in the region. More >>>

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sea level to rise one metre in 21st century

Professor Tim Naish, the lead author of the next international climate change assessment due for release in 2014, is predicting a one metre rise in sea levels over the next 90 years.  

This will be a doubling of the present rate of sea-level rise, but a slower rate rise than predicted by other researchers.

Prof. Naish has been appointed lead author by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His forecast is based on rock cores drilled from the Antarctic coastline that provide evidence of the earth’s geological condition 4 million years ago when the climate was similar to the ‘climate we are heading towards in the next century with global warming,’ he says.

During that ancient period, the West Antarctic ice sheet melted and raised seas by a total of five metres, and the Greenland ice sheet melted adding another seven metres, says Prof. Naish, who is director of New Zealand’sAntarctic Research Centre at Victoria University in Wellington.

Prof. Naish’s latest findings will be presented at the Australian Earth Sciences Convention in Canberra 4-8 July 2010. More >>>

Monday, July 5, 2010

Scrubbing CO2 From Atmosphere Could Be A Long-Term Commitment

ScienceDaily (July 2, 2010) — With carbon dioxide in the atmosphere approaching alarming levels, even halting emissions altogether may not be enough to avert catastrophic climate change. Could scrubbing carbon dioxide from the air be a viable solution?

A new study by scientists at the Carnegie Institution suggests that while removing excess carbon dioxide would cool the planet, complexities of the carbon cycle would limit the effectiveness of a one-time effort. To keep carbon dioxide at low levels would require a long-term commitment spanning decades or even centuries.

Previous studies have shown that reducing carbon dioxide emissions to zero would not lead to appreciable cooling, because carbon dioxide already within the atmosphere would continue to trap heat. For cooling to occur, greenhouse gas concentrations would need to be reduced. "We wanted to see what the response would be if carbon dioxide were actively removed from the atmosphere," says study coauthor Ken Caldeira of Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology. "Our study is the first to look at how much carbon dioxide you would need to remove and for how long to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations low. This has obvious implications for the public and for policy makers as we weigh the costs and benefits of different ways of mitigating climate change." More >>>

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Asia in the grip of water crisis: Asian Development Bank

Asia is in the grip of a water crisis that could set back the region's robust economic Sunday July 4th. 2010 - growth if left unresolved, according to a top Asian Development Bank (ADB) official.
Arjun Thapan, special adviser to ADB president Harukiko Kuroda on water and infrastructure issues, said governments must start managing the resource better to prevent the problem from worsening.
"We certainly believe that Asia is in the grip of a water crisis and one that is becoming more serious over time," Thapan told AFP on the sidelines of a water and urban planning conference in Singapore.
"We believe that the estimate recently made about Asia having a 40 percent gap between demand and supply by 2030 is a reasonable estimate."
With 80 percent of Asia's water used to irrigate agricultural lands, the shortage could have serious implications for food supplies, he warned. More >>>