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Report: Next Steps for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate
Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00

Water Resources Adaptation to Climate Change Workgroup –  April 10, 2014

The report: "Next Steps for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate", summarizes recommendations for implementing the National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate. The report was developed by the Water Resources Adaptation to Climate Change Workgroup that supports the Advisory Committee on Water Information - a national federal advisory committee made up of representatives of a diverse set of stakeholders and federal agencies. The Workgroup organized five subgroups based on the major recommendation topics in the National Action Plan: data and information for decision-making; vulnerability assessment; water use efficiency and conservation; integrated water resource management; and capacity building in training and outreach. The report is the result of discussions that took place at a two-day meeting of the Workgroup members in February 2014.  To read the report, click here

A precipitation shift from snow towards rain leads to a decrease in streamflow
Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00

By  W. R. BerghuijsR. A. Woods, & M. Hrachowitz – Nature Climate Change – May 18, 2014 

In a warming climate, precipitation is less likely to occur as snowfall. A shift from a snow- towards a rain-dominated regime is currently assumed not to influence the mean streamflow significantly Contradicting the current paradigm, we argue that mean streamflow is likely to reduce for catchments that experience significant reductions in the fraction of precipitation falling as snow. With more than one-sixth of the Earth’s population depending on meltwater for their water supply and ecosystems that can be sensitive to streamflow alterations, the socio-economic consequences of a reduction in streamflow can be substantial. By applying the Budyko water balance framework to catchments located throughout the contiguous United States we demonstrate that a higher fraction of precipitation falling as snow is associated with higher mean streamflow, compared to catchments with marginal or no snowfall. Furthermore, we show that the fraction of each year’s precipitation falling as snowfall has a significant influence on the annual streamflow within individual catchments. This study is limited to introducing these observations; process-based understanding at the catchment scale is not yet provided. Given the importance of streamflow for society, further studies are required to respond to the consequences of a temperature-induced precipitation shift from snow to rain. For full article, click here.

New Study Blames Thawing Wetlands For Increase In Green House Gas Emissions
Monday, 09 June 2014 00:00

Contact: Prof. Merritt Turetsky – Guelph Now – May 4, 2014

A surprising recent rise in atmospheric methane likely stems from wetland emissions, suggesting that much more of the potent greenhouse gas will be pumped into the atmosphere as northern wetlands continue to thaw and tropical ones to warm, according to a new international study led by a University of Guelph researcher. The study supports calls for improved monitoring of wetlands and human changes to those ecosystems – a timely topic as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares to examine land use impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, says Prof. Merritt Turetsky, Department of Integrative Biology. For full story, click here.

Something is Killing All the Baby Puffins
Monday, 02 June 2014 13:33

By Rowan Jacobsen – MotherJones – May/June 2014

The New Poster Child for climate change had his coming-out party in June 2012, when Petey the puffin chick first went live into thousands of homes and schools all over the world. The "Puffin Cam" capturing baby Petey's every chirp had been set up on Maine's Seal Island by Stephen Kress, "The Puffin Man," who founded the Audubon Society's Project Puffin in 1973. Puffins, whose orange bills and furrowed eyes make them look like penguins dressed as sad clowns, used to nest on many islands off the Maine coast, but 300 years of hunting for their meat, eggs, and feathers nearly wiped them out. Project Puffin transplanted young puffins from Newfoundland to several islands in Maine, and after years of effort the colonies were reestablished and the project became one of Audubon's great success stories. By 2013, about 1,000 puffin pairs were nesting in Maine. But Kress soon noticed that something was wrong. For full story, click here.

Eccentric OSU scientist vindicated on melting, global warming predictions
Monday, 02 June 2014 00:00

By Tom Henry – The Blade –  May 25, 2014

Thirty-six years after catching flak for one of the most bold and dire predictions about global warming, former Ohio State University glaciologist John H. Mercer is being hailed as a visionary. Mr. Mercer was hardly the first to sound an alarm about greenhouse gases: Scientists were well on their way by the late 1950s toward connecting mankind’s burning of fossil fuels to Earth’s changing climate. But Mr. Mercer made a groundbreaking contribution with a peer-reviewed research paper about West Antarctica’s instability he got published on Jan. 26, 1978, in the scientific journal Nature. In it, he warned the world that West Antarctica’s massive ice sheet — one of Earth’s largest and most important — would eventually melt from beneath, become dislodged, and cause global sea levels to rise 5 meters, the equivalent of nearly 16.5 feet. For full story, click here.

US Hottest Spots of Warming: Northeast, Southwest
Monday, 09 June 2014 00:00

By Seth Borenstein – Associated Press – June 4, 2014

The United States is warming fastest at two of its corners, in the Northeast and the Southwest, an analysis of federal temperature records shows. Northeastern states — led by Maine and Vermont — have gotten the hottest in the last 30 years in annual temperature, gaining 2.5 degrees on average. But Southwestern states have heated up the most in the hottest months: The average New Mexico summer is 3.4 degrees warmer now than in 1984; in Texas, the dog days are 2.8 degrees hotter. For full story, click here

Woods Hole allies with energy firms
Monday, 02 June 2014 13:38

By Brian Bender – The Boston Globe – May 25, 2014 

Its famed research vessels and scientists are arrayed across the globe, installing weather instruments off the Cape, tracking water currents in the Labrador Sea, monitoring monsoons in India, and measuring melting ice in Antarctica. In these and other ways, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is playing a leading role in raising the alarm — and scientific understanding — of the perils of climate change. But now the nonprofit institution, facing a severe budget crunch as federal research funding is slashed, has a very different sort of venture in the offing: helping oil and gas companies identify new sources of the very fossil fuels believed to be damaging the environment. For full story, click here.

University of Miami geologist in trenches of climate change
Monday, 02 June 2014 00:00

By Jenny Staltovich – Miami Herald – May 24, 2014

For the past three decades, University of Miami geology professor Harold Wanless has tracked the tides as they crept higher, watched oysters head for drier ground and repeatedly warned that the ocean is swelling in ways that could one day put coastal cities like Miami under water. His predictions — punctuated with dire conclusions like “this is going to test the very fibers of civilization” — often drew skepticism or, worse, silence. But earlier this month, two new studies reported findings that, if they hold up, would confirm what he and other scientists have long suspected: Global warming has triggered an unstoppable melting of polar ice in Antarctica that could raise sea level by 10 feet or more over the next several centuries. For full story, click here.

New Guide Provides Climate-Smart Solutions
Monday, 26 May 2014 00:00

By Jordan M. West and Susan H. Julius – It All Starts with Science – May 21, 2014

If you’ve ever been to Rocky Mountain National Park, you know that it is a land of majestic peaks, clear blue lakes, and green forested slopes. But these days, huge swaths of dead, reddish-brown trees mar the view. As a result of climate change, ongoing drought and rising temperatures have weakened the trees and triggered more extensive and severe infestations of bark beetles. Whole stands of trees have died as a result. For full blog post, click here.

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