Friday, November 30, 2012

Sea levels rising faster than IPCC projections

Sea levels rising faster than IPCC projections

ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2012) — Sea levels are rising 60 per cent faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) central projections, new research suggests.

While temperature rises appear to be consistent with the projections made in the IPCC's fourth assessment report (AR4), satellite measurements show that sea levels are actually rising at a rate of 3.2 mm a year compared to the best estimate of 2 mm a year in the report.

The researchers, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Tempo Analytics and Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales, believe that findings such as these are important for keeping track of how well past projections match the accumulating observational data, especially as projections made by the IPCC are increasingly being used in decision making.

The study, which has been published November 28, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, involved an analysis of global temperatures and sea-level data over the past two decades, comparing them both to projections made in the IPCC's third and fourth assessment reports.

Results were obtained by taking averages from the five available global land and ocean temperature series.

After removing the three known phenomena that cause short-term variability in global temperatures -- solar variations, volcanic aerosols and El Nino/Southern Oscillation -- the researchers found that the overall warming trend at the moment is 0.16°C per decade, which closely follows the IPCC's projections.
Satellite measurements of sea levels showed a different picture, however, with current rates of increase being 60 per cent faster than the IPCC's AR4 projections.
Satellites measure sea-level rise by bouncing radar waves back off the sea surface and are much more accurate than tide gauges as they have near-global coverage; tide gauges only sample along the coast. Tide gauges also include variability that has nothing to do with changes in global sea level, but rather with how the water moves around in the oceans, such as under the influence of wind.
The study also shows that it is very unlikely that the increased rate is down to internal variability in our climate system and also shows that non-climatic components of sea-level rise, such as water storage in reservoirs and groundwater extraction, do not have an effect on the comparisons made.
Lead author of the study, Stefan Rahmstorf, said: "This study shows once again that the IPCC is far from alarmist, but in fact has under-estimated the problem of climate change. That applies not just for sea-level rise, but also to extreme events and the Arctic sea-ice loss."
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Thursday, November 29, 2012


资料来源: 星洲日報

  • 在 週二,悉尼邦迪沙灘海水、沙灘都一片血紅色,還飄來陣陣魚腥味。這一景象嚇壞海灘上的遊客。當地政府封閉多處沙灘,並抽樣檢查,據悉應是紅藻作怪,令海水 看來像血海般。當地政府初步認為,是大量紅藻快速增生所致。受太陽照射及氣候變化影響,加上當地正值夏天,海水溫度上升,令紅藻大量生長。這些藻類應對人 體影響不大,但直接接觸仍會讓皮膚過敏而不適。 (圖:法新社)





Saturday, November 24, 2012

Climate change evident across Europe, confirming urgent need for adaptation

Climate change evident across Europe, confirming urgent need for adaptation

ScienceDaily (Nov. 23, 2012) — Climate change is affecting all regions in Europe, causing a wide range of impacts on society and the environment. Further impacts are expected in the future, potentially causing high damage costs, according to the latest assessment published by the European Environment Agency this week.

The report, 'Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012' finds that higher average temperatures have been observed across Europe as well as decreasing precipitation in southern regions and increasing precipitation in northern Europe. The Greenland ice sheet, Arctic sea ice and many glaciers across Europe are melting, snow cover has decreased and most permafrost soils have warmed.

Extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods and droughts have caused rising damage costs across Europe in recent years. While more evidence is needed to discern the part played by climate change in this trend, growing human activity in hazard-prone areas has been a key factor. Future climate change is expected to add to this vulnerability, as extreme weather events are expected to become more intense and frequent. If European societies do not adapt, damage costs are expected to continue to rise, according to the report.

Some regions will be less able to adapt to climate change than others, in part due to economic disparities across Europe, the report says. The effects of climate change could deepen these inequalities.

Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director said: "Climate change is a reality around the world, and the extent and speed of change is becoming ever more evident. This means that every part of the economy, including households, needs to adapt as well as reduce emissions."


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Climate change: Believing and seeing implies adapting

Climate change: Believing and seeing implies adapting

ScienceDaily (Nov. 22, 2012) — To communicate climate change and adaptation to stakeholders such as European forest owners is a challenge. A capacity to adapt to climate change has, until now, mainly been understood as how trees and forest ecosystems can adapt to climate change and which socio-economic factors determine the implementation of adaptive measures.

The new study lead by Kristina Blennow from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), shows, for the first time, the importance of two personal factors; when forest owners believe in and see the effects of climate change, they are more likely to have taken adaptive measures. These two personal factors almost completely explain and predict forest owners' adaptation to climate change.

The paper was published online in the journal PLOS ONE on 21 November 2012.

Knowing what triggers humans to respond to climate change is crucial in communicating climate change policies. Because climate is defined in terms of average weather, climate change has been claimed to have low salience as a risk issue because it cannot be directly experienced. An international team of scientists from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Lund University (Sweden), the Technical University of Lisbon (Portugal), the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL and the University of Freiburg (Germany) present, based on survey data from 845 private forest owners operating across Europe, that a substantial proportion of the respondents strongly believe that they have directly perceived climate change. Furthermore, the researchers present the first evidence that the personal strength of belief and perception of local effects of climate change significantly and almost completely explain and predict their responses to climate change.

The results are based on responses to a questionnaire among private forest owners in Sweden, Germany and Portugal. These countries represent a north-south gradient across Europe and cover a wide range of bio-climatic conditions as well as economic-social-political structures. In addition to socio-demographic data (gender, age, size of forest holding etc.), the survey addressed three main questions: how strongly do forest owners believe that climate change will affect their forest, how strongly do they believe that they have experienced local effects of climate change and have they adapted their forest management in response to climate change? Using statistical models, the collected data was used to simulate estimated expected probabilities of having taken measures to adapt to climate change.

Fifty percent of the forest area in Europe is privately owned. Hence, the results of the study show that the personal climate change belief and perception of those who make decisions for adaptation at the local level strongly influences the adaptive capacity of a substantial proportion of the European forest sector.

The findings of the team of researchers have implications for effective climate change policy communication. They indicate that gathering and disseminating evidence of climate change and its effects could be an efficient strategy to increase people’s perceptions of having experienced climate change and hence to consider the need to take adaptive measures.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Unexpected microbes fighting harmful greenhouse gas

Unexpected microbes fighting harmful greenhouse gas

ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2012) — The environment has a more formidable opponent than carbon dioxide. Another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, is 300 times more potent and also destroys the ozone layer each time it is released into the atmosphere through agricultural practices, sewage treatment and fossil fuel combustion.

Luckily, nature has a larger army than previously thought combating this greenhouse gas -- according to a study by Frank Loeffler, University of Tennessee, Knoxville-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor's Chair for Microbiology, and his colleagues.

The findings are published in the Nov. 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists have long known about naturally occurring microorganisms called denitrifiers, which fight nitrous oxide by transforming it into harmless nitrogen gas. Loeffler and his team have now discovered that this ability also exists in many other groups of microorganisms, all of which consume nitrous oxide and potentially mitigate emissions.

The research team screened available microbial genomes encoding the enzyme systems that catalyze the reduction of the nitrous oxide to harmless nitrogen gas.

They discovered an unexpected broad distribution of this class of enzymes across different groups of microbes with the power to transform nitrous oxide to innocuous nitrogen gas. Within these groups, the enzymes were related yet evolutionarily distinct from those of the known denitrifiers. Microbes with this capability can be found in most, if not all, soils and sediments, indicating that a much larger microbial army contributes to nitrous oxide consumption.

"Before we did this study, there was an inconsistency in nitrous oxide emission predictions based on the known processes contributing to nitrous oxide consumption, suggesting the existence of an unaccounted nitrous oxide sink," said Loeffler. "The new findings potentially reconcile this discrepancy."

According to Loeffler, the discovery of this microbial diversity and its contributions to nitrous oxide consumption will allow the scientific community to advance its understanding of the ecological controls on global nitrous oxide emissions and to refine greenhouse gas cycle models.

"This will allow us to better describe and predict the consequences of human activities on ozone layer destruction and global warming," said Loeffler. "Our results imply that the analysis of the typical denitrifier populations provides an incomplete picture and is insufficient to account for or accurately predict the true nitrous oxide emissions."

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Himalayan glaciers will shrink by almost 10 percent, even if temperatures hold steady

Himalayan glaciers will shrink by almost 10 percent, even if temperatures hold steady

ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2012) — Come rain or shine, or even snow, some glaciers of the Himalayas will continue shrinking for many years to come.

The forecast by Brigham Young University geology professor Summer Rupper comes after her research on Bhutan, a region in the bull's-eye of the monsoonal Himalayas. Published in Geophysical Research Letters, Rupper's most conservative findings indicate that even if climate remained steady, almost 10 percent of Bhutan's glaciers would vanish within the next few decades. What's more, the amount of melt water coming off these glaciers could drop by 30 percent.

Rupper says increasing temperatures are just one culprit behind glacier retreat. A number of climate factors such as wind, humidity, precipitation and evaporation can affect how glaciers behave. With some Bhutanese glaciers as long as 13 miles, an imbalance in any of these areas can take them decades to completely respond.

"These particular glaciers have seen so much warming in the past few decades that they're currently playing lots of catch up," Rupper explains.

In fact, snowfall rates in Bhutan would need to almost double to avoid glacier retreat, but it's not a likely scenario because warmer temperatures lead to rainfall instead of snow. If glaciers continue to lose more water than they gain, the combination of more rain and more glacial melt will increase the probability of flooding -- which can be devastating to neighboring villages.

"Much of the world's population is just downstream of the Himalayas," Rupper points out. "A lot of culture and history could be lost, not just for Bhutan but for neighboring nations facing the same risks."

To illustrate the likelihood of such an outcome, Rupper took her research one moderate step further. Her results show if temperatures were to rise just 1 degree Celsius, the Bhutanese glaciers would shrink by 25 percent and the annual melt water would drop by as much as 65 percent. With climate continuing to warm, such a prediction is not altogether unlikely, especially given the years it can take for glaciers to react to change.

To make more precise predictions for Bhutan, Rupper and BYU graduate students Landon Burgener and Josh Maurer joined researchers from Columbia University, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, NASA and Bhutan's Department of Hydro-Meteorological Services. Together, they trekked through rainforests and barren cliffs to reach some of the world's most remote blocks of ice. There they placed a weather station and glacier monitoring equipment that can be used to gather real-time data in the months and years to follow.

"It took seven days just to get to the target glacier," Rupper recounts, having returned in October. "For our pack animals, horsemen and guides, that terrain and elevation are a way of life, but I'll admit the westerners in the group were a bit slower-moving."

Rupper's forecasts and fieldwork are among the first to look at glaciers in Bhutan, and the government hopes to use her research to make long-term decisions about the nation's water resources and flooding hazards.

"They could potentially have a better idea of where best to fortify homes or build new power plants," Rupper says. "Hopefully, good science can lead to good engineering solutions for the changes we're likely to witness in the coming decades."

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Plants and soils could exacerbate climate change as global climate warms

Plants and soils could exacerbate climate change as global climate warms

ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2012) — Scientists from the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and University of California, Berkeley have demonstrated that plants and soils could release large amounts of carbon dioxide as global climate warms. This finding contrasts with the expectation that plants and soils will absorb carbon dioxide and is important because that additional carbon release from land surface could be a potent positive feedback that exacerbates climate warming.

The study was published today in a Journal of Climate paper titled, "Carbon cycle uncertainty increases climate change risks and mitigation challenges."

"We have been counting on plants and soils to soak up and store much of the carbon we're releasing when we burn fossil fuels," Paul Higgins, a study co-author and associate director of the AMS Policy Program, said. "However, our results suggest the opposite possibility. Plants and soils could react to warming by releasing additional carbon dioxide, increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and leading to even more climate warming."

The research team used a computer model of Earth's land surface to examine how carbon storage might react to a warmer planet with higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. The experimental design helps quantify the possible range in future terrestrial carbon storage.

Results indicated that the potential range of outcomes is vast and includes the possibility that plant and soil responses to human-caused warming could trigger a large additional release of carbon. If that outcome is realized, a given level of human emissions could result in much larger climate changes than scientists currently anticipate. It would also mean that greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could be required to ensure carbon dioxide concentrations remain at what might be considered safe levels for the climate system.

These findings could pose additional challenges for climate change risk management. Recognizing such challenges will afford decision makers a greater chance of managing the risks of climate change more effectively.

Dr. Higgins works on climate change and its causes, consequences, and potential solutions. His scientific research examines the two-way interaction between the atmosphere and the land-surface, which helps quantify responses and feedbacks to climate change. Dr. Higgins's policy analysis helps characterize climate risks and identify potential solutions. He also works to inform policy makers, members of the media, and the general public about climate science and climate policy.

Dr. John Harte, the study's other co-author, is a professor of energy and resources and of environmental science, policy and management at University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include climate-ecosystem interactions, theoretical ecology and environmental policy.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cultural dimensions of climate change are underestimated, overlooked and misunderstood

Cultural dimensions of climate change are underestimated, overlooked and misunderstood

ScienceDaily (Nov. 11, 2012) — The impact of climate change on many aspects of cultural life for people all over the world is not being sufficiently accounted for by scientists and policy-makers. University of Exeter-led research by an international team, published on 11th November in Nature Climate Change, shows that cultural factors are key to making climate change real to people and to motivating their responses.

From enjoying beaches or winter sports and visiting iconic natural spaces to using traditional methods of agriculture and construction in our daily lives, the research highlights the cultural experiences that bind our communities and are under threat as a result of climate change. The paper argues that governments' programmes for dealing with the consequences of climate  change do not give enough consideration to what really matters to individuals and communities.

Culture binds people together and helps them overcome threats to their environments and livelihoods. Some are already experiencing such threats and profound changes to their lives. For example, the Polynesian Island of Niue, which experiences cyclones, has a population of 1,500 with four times as many Niueans now living in New Zealand. The research shows that most people remaining on the island resist migrating because of a strong attachment to the island. There is strong evidence to suggest that it is important for people's emotional well-being to have control over whether and where they move. The researchers argue that these psychological factors have not been addressed.

Lead researcher Professor Neil Adger of the University of Exeter said: "Governments have not yet addressed the cultural losses we are all facing as a result of global climate change and this could have catastrophic consequences. If the cultural dimensions of climate change continue to be ignored, it is likely that responses will fail to be effective because they simply do not connect with what matters to individuals and communities. It is vital that the cultural impact of climate change is considered, alongside plans to adapt our physical spaces to the changing environment."

Professor Katrina Brown from the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute adds: "The evidence is clear; when people experience the impacts of climate change in places that matter to them, the problems become real and they are motivated to make their futures more sustainable. This is as true in coastal Cornwall as in Pacific Islands."

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Mengapa tidak pilih kasih sayang....

Kalau manusia boleh hidup sihat tanpa mengambil nyawa dan mengakibatkan penderitaan terhadap haiwan atau hidupan lain... mengapa tidak? Mengapa tak ambil pilihan tersebut?

Dalam era kini, sudah semakin ramai orang yang mengamalkan cara hidup vegan (diet berasaskan tumbuhan, tanpa daging, telur ataupun bahan tenusu). Mereka bukti manusia boleh hidup tanpa membunuh untuk makanan. Antara sebab mereka ialah:

1) belas kasihan terhadap haiwan (elakkan pembunuhan)
2) alam sekitar (mesra alam: penternakan akibat utama pencemaran & pembebasan gas-gas hijau)
3) kebuluran (bahan makanan ternakan spt soya, gandum dll diberi dlm jumlah yg besar kpd haiwan yg akan disembelih sebalik diberi kepada kanak-kanak yang kebulur.)
4) agama (saling kait dengan belas kasihan / elak pembunuhan)

Mari kita dengar suara hati, perlukah kita bunuh haiwan-haiwan yang juga ingin hidup dan mampu luahkan kasih sayang kepada anak-anak mereka semata-mata untuk memuaskan selera kita?

Soalannya sekali lagi: Kalau kita boleh hidup dengan sihat tanpa pembunuhan hidupan lain, mengapa tidak?

Semua khasiat yang diperlukan oleh tubuh badan manusia, ada terkandung dlm semua jenis makanan berasaskan tumbuhan, malah khasiatnya lebih dan lebih 'bersih': ia tidak datang bersama lemak haiwan yang mengakibatkan pelbagai penyakit.... 

Sekurang-kurangnya, kita boleh mula dengan cuba mengurangkan pemakanan daging. Banyakkan memakan buah-buahan, sayuran hijau (tanpa masak-'raw'), bijirin & kekacang. Jemputlah cuba!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Intensive farming with a climate-friendly touch: Farming/woodland mix increases yields

Intensive farming with a climate-friendly touch: Farming/woodland mix increases yields

ScienceDaily (Nov. 8, 2012) — In the world of agriculture, climate protection and intensive farming are generally assumed to be a contradiction in terms. At Technische Universität München (TUM), however, scientists have come up with a new land development concept that could change this view. The new model is tailored to medium-sized farms in South America and sees farmers transitioning from large-scale monoculture to more diverse crop mixtures spread over smaller plots interspersed with wooded areas -- a switch that can bring significant financial benefits.

Each year, huge carbon stores are lost as a result of deforestation. In South America, around four million hectares of forest are cut down every year. As a result, international climate protection programs are planning to financially compensate farmers who preserve forests or plant new trees. Demand for land is rising, however. And growing need for food and energy crops will inevitably lead to conflicts of interest over fertile land in countries such as Brazil and Ecuador.

Thomas Knoke and Michael Weber at Technische Universität München (TUM) firmly believe that intensive, high-yield agricultural practices can go hand-in-hand with climate and environmental protection. The two scientists and their colleagues have developed a "diversified land-use" concept for medium-sized holdings in South America based on an idea originally developed by retired TUM professor, Wolfgang Haber. The new concept encourages farmers to move away from large-scale monocropping and plant a mix of field crops on smaller plots, while at the same time setting aside part of their land for forests and hedges. Any unused land will be reforested. The smaller plots of farmland will still be large enough for intensive farming practices using fertilizers, planting machines and harvesters. The interspersed wooded areas and hedges will protect the soil from erosion and serve as long-term carbon stores.

Knoke and Weber have evaluated the economic viability of their concept based on a typical medium-sized agricultural holding. This model hacienda comprises an area of over 116 hectares and includes croplands, wooded areas and unused land. There are around five million family-owned farms of this size on the South American continent.

Adopting this sustainable method of intensive farming initially means higher costs for farmers due to reforestation and the division of land into individual plots. However, the combination of woodland management and smaller plots of land pays off in the long term. Working lots of individual plots enables farmers to diversify and spread risk -- in much the same way as smart investors. By growing a broader portfolio of crops such as soya, sugar cane, corn and coffee, they can reduce their dependency on price fluctuations. The wooded areas also provide extra income. Smaller material from forest thinning can be used as firewood, while larger logs can be sold as building material. Depending on the crops harvested, a farm modeled on the diversified land-use method will achieve higher returns than a monocrop farm in eight years at the latest. Farmers working this new model can achieve between 19 and 25 percent more yield than they would with large-scale monoculture.

To ease the transition to diversified land development, Knoke and Weber are lobbying for start-up funding and knowledge sharing. "The associated costs, however, are the same or less than comparable measures aimed at reducing CO2 levels," explains Professor Knoke from the TUM's Institute of Forest Management. "Which makes diversified land development in line with local dynamics an effective approach to ensuring highly productive yet climate-friendly agriculture."

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Earth on acid: Present & future of global acidification

Earth on acid: Present & future of global acidification

ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2012) — Climate change and extreme weather events grab the headlines, but there is another, lesser known, global change underway on land, in the seas, and in the air: acidification.

It turns out that combustion of fossil fuels, smelting of ores, mining of coal and metal ores, and application of nitrogen fertilizer to soils are all driving down the pH of the air, water, and the soil at rates far faster than Earth's natural systems can buffer, posing threats to both land and sea life.

"It's a bigger picture than most of us know," says Janet Herman of the Department of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Herman and her colleague, Karen Rice of the USGS, discovered that despite the fact that they worked on different kinds of acidification in the environment, they were not well informed about the matter beyond their own specialties. So they have done an extensive review of science papers about all kinds of environmental acidification and are presenting their work in a poster session on Nov. 6, at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

Acidification is both a local and global problem, since it can be as close as a nearby stream contaminated by mine tailings or as far-reaching as the world's oceans, which are becoming more acidic as sea water absorbs higher concentrations of carbon dioxide that humans dump into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

Coal gives a double whammy by being the biggest contributor of anthropogenic carbon dioxide to the global atmosphere as well as creating regional acidification. Coal burning is famous for creating acid rain, which had dramatic environmental impacts on forests, streams, and lakes in eastern North America and Europe and led to major policy changes.

"It's not at all clear that other regions are considering such policy restrictions to be important," Herman says, regarding places where population growth is expected to increase acidifying activities.
Normally, acids in the environment are buffered by alkaline compounds released by the weathering of minerals in rocks. The problem today, according to Herman, is that the rate of acidification by human activities has outstripped the weathering rate and buffering capacity of the planet.

In their work, Herman and Rice look at the population projections by country over the next four decades to see where the increased industrialization and agriculture will likely lead to new acidification hot spots. Their hope is that by doing this people can anticipate the problem and plan to mitigate the harmful environmental effects, says Herman.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Warmer future oceans could cause phytoplankton to thrive near poles, shrink in tropics

Warmer future oceans could cause phytoplankton to thrive near poles, shrink in tropics

ScienceDaily (Oct. 25, 2012) — In the future, warmer waters could significantly change ocean distribution of populations of phytoplankton, tiny organisms that could have a major effect on climate change.

Reporting in this week's online journal Science Express, researchers show that by the end of the 21st century, warmer oceans will cause populations of these marine microorganisms to thrive near the poles and shrink in equatorial waters.

"In the tropical oceans, we are predicting a 40 percent drop in potential diversity, the number of strains of phytoplankton," says Mridul Thomas, a biologist at Michigan State University (MSU) and co-author of the journal paper.

"If the oceans continue to warm as predicted," says Thomas, "there will be a sharp decline in the diversity of phytoplankton in tropical waters and a poleward shift in species' thermal niches--if they don't adapt."

Thomas co-authored the paper with scientists Colin Kremer, Elena Litchman and Christopher Klausmeier, all of MSU.

"The research is an important contribution to predicting plankton productivity and community structure in the oceans of the future," says David Garrison, program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research along with NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.

"The work addresses how phytoplankton species are affected by a changing environment," says Garrison, "and the really difficult question of whether adaptation to these changes is possible."

The MSU scientists say that since phytoplankton play a key role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and therefore global climate, the shift could in turn cause further climate change.
Phytoplankton and Earth's climate are inextricably intertwined.

"These results will allow scientists to make predictions about how global warming will shift phytoplankton species distribution and diversity in the oceans," says Alan Tessier, program director in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.

"They illustrate the value of combining ecology and evolution in predicting species' responses."
The microorganisms use light, carbon dioxide and nutrients to grow. Although phytoplankton are small, they flourish in every ocean, consuming about half of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.

When they die, some sink to the ocean bottom, depositing their carbon in the sediment, where it can be trapped for long periods of time.

Water temperatures strongly influence their growth rates.

Phytoplankton in warmer equatorial waters grow much faster than their cold-water cousins.
With worldwide temperatures predicted to increase over the next century, it's important to gauge the reactions of phytoplankton species, say the scientists.

They were able to show that phytoplankton have adapted to local temperatures.

Based on projections of ocean temperatures in the future, however, many phytoplankton may not adapt quickly enough.

Since they can't regulate their temperatures or migrate, if they don't adapt, they could be hard hit, Kremer says.

"We've shown that a critical group of the world's organisms has evolved to do well under the temperatures to which they're accustomed," he says.

But warming oceans may significantly limit their growth and diversity, with far-reaching implications for the global carbon cycle.

"Future models that incorporate genetic variability within species will allow us to determine whether particular species can adapt," says Klausmeier, "or whether they will face extinction."

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Nanosilver from clothing can pose major environmental problems

Nanosilver from clothing can pose major environmental problems

ScienceDaily (Nov. 1, 2012) — Silver nanoparticles can have a severe environmental impact if their utilisation in clothing continues to increase. If everyone buys one silver nanoparticle-treated sock a year, the silver concentration in waste water treatment plant sludge can double. If the sludge is subsequently used as fertilizer, the silver can cause long-term damage to agricultural land. These are the results of a study conducted at Chalmers University of Technology.

Chalmers researcher Rickard Arvidsson recently defended his doctoral thesis, which addressed the risks associated with nanomaterials -- a field with a great many knowledge gaps. He has developed new methods to assess the risks of nanomaterials, as well as used the methods on a few specific materials such as silver nanomaterials.

Silver nanoparticles have an antibacterial effect, and are used in a variety of consumer products such as workout clothing to prevent the smell of sweat. When the clothes are washed, nanoparticles are released and enter waste water treatment plants through waste water. The particles release silver ions that cannot be broken down at waste water treatment plants or in nature. The silver ions are toxic to many organisms.

"Clothing is considered to be a large source of nanosilver emissions already," says Rickard Arvidsson. "If silver usage in clothing continues to increase, the consequences for the environment can be major. For example, silver can accumulate in soil if sludge from waste water treatment plants is used as fertilizer, which can result in long-term damage to soil ecosystems."

Utilising sludge as fertilizer in soil is a way to restore phosphorus from waste water to agricultural land. There is a global shortage of phosphorus, but if sludge is to be used as fertilizer, contaminated content must remain at a low level.

Rickard Arvidsson conducted a study at Gothenburg's waste water treatment plant in Sweden. The study shows that the effect on sludge, and agricultural land if sludge is used as fertilizer, is entirely dependent on the amount of silver that manufacturers use in clothing. The silver concentration in the examined clothing varied by a factor of one million -- between 0.003 mg/kg and 1400 mg/kg. With the lowest concentration, there would not be an observable effect on sludge and soil even if the utilisation of silver in clothing increased significantly.

"Using silver in clothing is a new technology, and it is still difficult to ascertain patterns for how much is being used. However, if the negative environmental impact is to be avoided, either the silver concentration in clothing or consumption of silver nanoparticle-treated clothing must be limited."

"With the highest concentration, however, it would suffice if all of the city's residents bought and used one silver nanoparticle-treated sock a year for the silver concentration in waste water treatment plant sludge to double," says Rickard Arvidsson.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

While we were arguing whether or not climate change was real....

 Check it out  ~

Recent Natural Disasters







10月16日是世界糧食日,今年的主題是“農業合作社:養活世界的關鍵"(Agricultural Cooperatives : Key to Feeding The World)。


畜牧業是糧荒罪魁禍首之一, 湯禮聰:鼓勵吃素救地球

綠色生活協會(Green Living Society)主席湯禮聰說,在極端的天氣條件下,全球暖化、氣候轉變,全世界正面臨糧食短缺危機,但本地人絲毫未曾察覺其嚴重性。

























珍惜食物醒覺仍低, 浪費習慣根深蒂固





林德來:節制美德減少浪費,  鼓勵打包婚宴剩餘食物









●每5秒,就有一個兒童死於饑餓或相關疾病;每4個饑餓人口中, 就有一個是兒童。
●在發展中國家,60%的兒童死於饑餓,每4個兒童,就有一個體 重過輕。