Monday, July 30, 2007

Global warming doubles number of hurricanes, study finds

by Maxim Kniazkov

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Global warming's effect on wind patterns and sea temperatures have more than doubled the annual number of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean over the past century, says a new study by US scientists.

Excerpts from the study by Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Peter Webster of Georgia Institute of Technology were released in the United States late Sunday.

The analysis identifies three periods since 1900, during which the average number of hurricanes and tropical storms surged dramatically and then remained elevated and relatively steady.

The first period, between 1900 and 1930, saw an average of six Atlantic tropical cyclones, of which four were hurricanes and two were tropical storms.

From 1930 to 1940, the annual average increased to 10, consisting of five hurricanes and five tropical storms.

In the most recent period, from 1995 to 2005, the average reached 15, of which eight were hurricanes and seven were tropical storms.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Small Ice Sources Pose Big Threat to Rising Seas

Andrea Thompson LiveScience Staff Writer

Apparently, “don’t sweat the small stuff” doesn’t apply to sea-level rise due to global warming: Scientists have found that smaller glaciers and ice caps, not Earth's expansive polar ice sheets, could cause the majority of the rise due to melting by 2100.

As snow accumulates on the upper portions of a glacier, the ice thickens and begins to flow down. The rate of flow partly determines how fast the glacier melts.

With rising temperatures, the surface of the glacier melts faster, and the water created percolates down through the ice, making the bed of the glacier more slippery and causing the ice to flow faster.

"Faster flow means more ice discharged to the ocean, which will then melt," Meier explained.

Glaciers high in mountain ranges such as the Alps also melt by flowing in this way, and their melt water runs into rivers and eventually into the ocean.

IPCC's missing info

Meier and his colleagues emphasized these types of losses in their study, detailed in the July 19 online issue of the journal Science, because considerations of flow rates were largely absent from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) estimates.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Gore Slams US-Led Climate Pact as Sham

by Michelle Nichols for Reuters

NEW YORK - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore slammed the United States and some other big polluters for forming what he called a sham global warming pact separate from the rest of the world.

0705 09 1 2Those countries — including Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan — must join the rest of the world in a new deal to fight global warming, Gore told Reuters ahead of Saturday’s Live Earth concerts aimed at raising awareness of climate change.

In an interview, Gore expressed doubts about the motives of the United States and Australia, which both eschewed the Kyoto Protocol, for creating the six-member pact called the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

“With all due respect I think the Asia-Pacific initiative is more of a Potemkin Village approach,” he said, referring to the fake villages set up by Russian general Grigory Potemkin in the Crimea in 1787 to impress Catherine the Great.

“It has been organized by the two developed countries that alone among the world community have refused to join in on the Kyoto Protocol,” said Gore, whose documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” about global warming won two Academy Awards this year.

The Kyoto Protocol obligates about 35 rich nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. It expires in 2012 and U.N.-led talks on a replacement pact are expected to start in December

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