Jul 22, 2009 | 4
Waters in San Francisco Bay will likely be 40 centimeters higher in 40 years thanks to climate change. That may sound like a drop in the bucket for the famously hilly city, but the upper estimate for the next century—tides up 1.4 meters—could threaten buildings and city infrastructure, especially in the case of warming-fueled storm surges.
“We are going to have to deal with the issue of protecting the airports, Silicon Valley and downtown San Francisco much sooner than we thought,” the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission told The Oakland Tribune.
May 14, 2009 | 40
A new estimate puts maximum global sea level rise from the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet at 10.5 feet (3.2 meters)—not the 16 feet (five meters) or more predicted in the past.
The latest research indicates that this massive ice sheet is unlikely to disappear completely, limiting the damage as it melts. Glaciologist Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol in England and his colleagues modeled the collapse of the ice sheet based on the relative likelihood of a given section vanishing completely.
Their work suggests only those parts of the ice sheet that are grounded below sea level or sloping downwards would collapse. Those parts of the sheet grounded above sea level or on bedrock that slopes upwards would remain in place.
Apr 7, 2009 | 1
Forget the Russians moving troops north of the Arctic circle to protect "vital interests," even U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognizes that the rules for the poles have changed. At the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting and the Arctic Council in Baltimore this week she called for "strengthening environmental regulation" for the South Pole in the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959.
"With the collapse of an ice bridge that holds in place the Wilkins Ice Shelf, we are reminded that global warming has already had enormous effects on our planet, and we have no time to lose in tackling this crisis," she said. "We need to increase our attention not only to the Antarctic but to the Arctic as well."
Dec 12, 2008 | 1
Another major earthquake along the same fault line that sparked the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is likely in the next several decades—and it could unleash as much or more destruction, new research suggests.
The tsunami, which killed an estimated 250,000 people, was sparked by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake along the Sunda fault off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. A major 8.4 temblor and aftershocks along a southern section of that fault called the Mentawi patch shook up the region last year.
Now, analysis of coral growth patterns along the Mentawi patch suggests that the 2007 quake may have been just the first episode in an "earthquake supercycle," or set of large quakes that have occurred in the region roughly every 200 years for the past seven centuries. Sections of the Earth's crust called tectonic plates are likely to rupture again under the Mentawi patch within several decades, possibly generating a magnitude 8.8 temblor, according to research published in this week's Science.
Sep 26, 2008 | 4
Despite a slowing global economy, carbon dioxide emissions continued to rise in 2007, according to energy use figures from oil company BP—jumping to 8.47 billion metric tons of the most common greenhouse gas responsible for global warming or 2.9 percent higher than the last year's total. Leading the charge: the U.S. (up nearly 2 percent to 1.58 billion metric tons) and China (up more than 7 percent to 1.8 billion metric tons).
These figures outpace even the worst-case projections of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warned last year that unless pollution is reduced, global average temperatures could rise by between four and 11 degrees Fahrenheit (two to six degrees Celsius).
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