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Dried beans in Blantyre Market, Malawi. Photo: Michaelphoya via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

'Heat beater' beans could feed millions in warmer world

Alex Kirby

27th March 2015

Thirty new heat tolerant varieties of bean - a staple food crop around the world's tropical regions - will help people survive in a world as much as 4C warmer that it is now, writes Alex Kirby - and look: no genetic modification! more...
Where ice meets ocean - Antarctic coastline by McKay Savage via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Antarctic warmth brings more snow, reducing sea level rise

Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell

18th March 2015

Rising temperatures will result in more snow falling in Antarctica, and the build-up of ice will reduce sea level rise from other sources. But as the extra weight of ice makes Antarctica's glaciers flow faster, the continent will still be a net contributor to sea level rise. more...
Michael Mann on a Tundra Buggy looking for polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba (13th November 2010). Photo: via Michael Mann.

Unlikely hero (or villain): Michael Mann, creator of the hockey stick graph

Brendan Montague / DeSmog UK

16th March 2015

Michael Mann will be remembered as the creator of the 'hockey stick' graph of rising global temperatures, which has put him forever in the crosshairs of climate change sceptics. But as Brendan Montague found, he is a curiously unlikely hero, or villain: rather a dedicated scientist living the American dream, who just happened, to his own surprise, to stumble on something big. more...
NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Coming soon: the 'Big Heat'

Nafeez Ahmed

3rd March 2015

Global warming has been on vacation for a few years, writes Nafeez Ahmed. But that's only because the excess heat - two Hiroshima bombs-worth every second - has been buried in the deep ocean. But within a few years that's set to change, producing a huge decade-long warming surge, focused on the Arctic, that could overwhelm us all. more...
The future Amazon? Keep on deforesting the Amazon, and Leticia in the Colmbian rainforest, which currently gets 2500mm of rain a year, could get as little rain as Israel's Negev Desert, with 20mm. Photo of the Negev by Francois BESSONNET via Flickr (CC BY

Without its rainforest, the Amazon will turn to desert

Peter Bunyard

2nd March 2015

Mainstream climatologists predict a 15% fall in rainfall over the Amazon if it is stripped of its rainforest. But the 'biotic pump' theory, rooted in conventional physics and recently confirmed by experiment, shows that the interior of a forest-free Amazon will be as dry as the Negev desert. We must save the Amazon before it enters a permanent and irreversible dessication. more...
Industrial fumes caught in early morning sunshine in Chilwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction - the reality is much worse

Nick Breeze

27th February 2015

The IPCC's 'Representative Concentration Pathways' are based on fantasy technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere late this century, writes Nick Breeze - an unjustified hope that conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity. more...
Gigatonnes of carbon rising from the frigid Southern Ocean put an end to the last ice age. Photo: Natalie Tapson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Carbon stored deep in Antarctic waters ended the last ice age

Miguel Martinez-Boti & Gianluca Marino

12th February 2015

The last ice age came to an end following the massive release of carbon dioxide from the Southern Ocean, write Miguel Martinez-Boti and Gianluca Marino, and the signature of that event is written in planktonic shells. It's a timely reminder that the oceans contain 60 times more carbon than the atmosphere - and we want to keep it there. more...
Global average temperature anomaly 1850-2015. Image: WMO.

WMO: 2014 was hottest year on record

The Ecologist

3rd February 2015

The World Meteorological Organization has ranked 2014 as the hottest year on record. And it's no flash in the pan: 14 of the 15 hottest years have been in the 21st century, a powerful indication of warming trend. more...
The SPICE project will investigate the release of small particles into the stratosphere to cool the Earth by reflecting a few percent of incoming solar radiation. Photo: Hugh Hunt CC BY-SA 3.0.

What's worse than geoengineering the climate?

Nick Breeze

23rd December 2014

Film maker Nick Breeze has conducted a series of interviews with experts on 'geo-engineering' to forestall runaway global warming. Here he presents the distilled wisdom from his meetings - and concludes that we should at least be experimenting with the techniques, and studying their impacts. more...
Rising sea level? What rising sea level? Peter, CC BY-SA.

I'll talk politics with climate change deniers - but not science

Mark Maslin

17th December 2014

The responses that climate change demands of us are collective, writes Mark Maslin, and force us to accept the finite nature of global resources and the need for equitable sharing. So when climate change collides with belief in neoliberalism, free markets, strong property rights and rugged individualism, denial trumps science every time. more...
A reminder to conservation scientists: not only can one little nuclear bomb ruin your whole day, it can also wipe out a whole lot of biodiversity.

Nuclear power and biodiversity - don't forget WMD proliferation!

Dr Jim Green

18th December 2014

Nuclear energy is essential to preserve the world's biodiversity, according to 69 conservation scientists. But there's a mysterious omission in their analysis, writes Jim Green: nuclear weapons proliferation. And after a major exchange of nuclear bombs, and the 'nuclear winter' that would follow, exactly how much biodiversity would survive? more...
The cartographic submarine at work. Photo: WHOI.

Antarctic sea ice expands to record extent - and it's deeper than we thought

Edward Hanna

28th November 2014

While the Arctic melts, Antarctica's ice has spread to record extents in three consecutive years, writes Edward Hanna. But is the news as good as it looks? Yes, if indications from a robot submarine that the ice is thicker than expected are supported by further evidence. It may just be that Antarctica's ice is more resilient than scientists dared to hope. more...

climate science: 1/25 of 91
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Chris Rapley in '2071' at the Royal Court Theatre. Photo: Stephen Cummiskey.

Five stars! Scientist's dramatic climate change act is a winner

Tim Radford

25th November 2014

A spellbinding solo performance by veteran climate scientist Chris Rapley at London's Royal Court puts the climate debate centre stage, writes Tim Radford - and earns the admiration of hard-to-please theatre critics. more...
Families swimming in the Thames at Long Bridges, Oxford earlier this month. Photo: Zoe Broughton.

Climate deniers lost for words: 2014 set for hottest year on record

Richard Heasman / DeSmogUK

28th October 2014

Just as 2014 is looking like going down as the hottest year since records began, motor-mouthed climate change deniers are shrinking into the shadows, writes Richard Heasman. more...
These bananas in India are grown for their edible seed as well as their flesh. To increase food security in a warming world, we must increase the diversity of our food crops. Photo: VitaminGreen via Flickr.

In a warming world, food security means crop diversity

Sayed Azam-Ali

10th October 2014

The global homogenisation of food carries costs, writes Sayed Azam-Ali - notably the world's the increasing dependence on just a few 'elite crops', creating a precarious food system vulnerable to climate change. We must diversify our diets, and the crops that that feed us. more...
The 'flying rivers' of the Amazon are at risk from deforestation, fires and climate change. Without them, forest and farmland could turn to desert. Photo: Eli Duke via Flickr.

Drought bites as the Amazon's 'flying rivers' fail

Jan Rocha

20th September 2014

The Amazon forest both depends on, and sustains, vast 'flying rivers' that carry humid air and clouds deep into the continental interior, writes Jan Rocha. But scientists fear the flying rivers are failing due to deforestation, fire and climate change. more...
Chile's Lascar volano in eruption. Some geoengineering techniques would imitate the cooling effect of volcanic dust to reduce global warming. Photo: Neil via Flickr.

Geoengineering - the 'declaration' that never was may cause real harm

Andrew Lockley

28th August 2014

It was a great story, writes Andrew Lockley - scientists signing up to a 'Berlin Declaration' imposing an effective 'test ban' on outdoor geoengineering experiments. Except there was no declaration, and scientists never agreed to it. The world's media got it completely wrong, yet the mud will stick - and may cause severe harm in the fight against climate change. more...
Earth and Mars - spot the difference? Image: RHorning, modified by Scooter20 via Wikimedia Commons.

Climate change and the living Gaia

Lee Klinger

10th January 2015

Debate around climate change is based on the idea that Earth is a purely physical and chemical entity, writes Lee Klinger. But what if Earth is a living system? Then things could turn out very differently - and we understand how, we need to develop a new Gaian science of planetary physiology. more...
The Navarre Plains are one of the areas under debate, and are an important site of glacial geology. Photo: Kevin Kiernan.

Tasmania's World Heritage debate must look beyond the trees

Kevin Kiernan

23rd June 2014

With Australia's still trying to 'de-list' 74,000 hectares of forest from the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area, Kevin Kierman reminds us that it's not just about the trees. No less important are the area's unique geology, and ancient Aboriginal cultural sites. more...
Switchgrass - 65 tons of it - baled and delivered to a poultry farm. In future, it will be sent in far larger volumes to bioethanol plants. Photo: University of Delaware Carvel REC via Flickr.

GMO bug makes bioethanol direct from grass

Tim Radford

15th June 2014

A new GM bacterium can produce bioethanol from coarse switchgrass, rather than using food crops like maize, writes Tim Radford. It does this by 'digesting' the tough cellulose that yeasts are unable to break down. more...
Thanks to higher methane emissions and lower production than declared, gas from fracking is as bad for climate as coal. Photo: Fracking the Bakken Formation in North Dakota. Credit: Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons.

Fracking 'as bad for climate as coal' - UK's dodgy dossier exposed

Paul Mobbs

30th May 2014

A wholesale corruption of science underlies the UK Government's insistence that gas from fracking offers a 'low carbon', low cost route to energy abundance, writes Paul Mobbs. On the contrary: it's expensive, over-hyped - and just as bad for climate change as coal. more...
Traces of submerged lands are visible today, if you know where to look. Richerman, CC BY-SA.

Melting glaciers have drowned lands before, and will again

Vince Gaffney

12th May 2014

The North Sea's 'Dogger Bank' was once dry land, inhabited by people and herds of Pleistocene megafauna, writes Vince Gaffney. The long-lost world of Doggerland shows how melting glaciers drowned land at the end of the last ice age. And surely not for the last time ... more...
Locally produced biochar. Photo: Carbon Gold.

Biochar doubles plant growth

Oliver Tickell

7th April 2014

New research shows that biochar in soil strongly stimulates plant growth, more than doubling yields. However the extra growth may come at the cost of reduced plant defences against pests. more...
Ancient tree - possibly a Black cottonwood -  on Big Tree Hike on Vancouver's North Shore. Photo: Rob Baxter via Flickr.com.

Big old trees grow faster, absorb more carbon

Adeshola Ore

28th January 2014

Large, older trees have been found to grow faster and absorb carbon dioxide more rapidly than younger, smaller trees, writes Adeshola Ore - contrary to the previous view that trees’ growth slowed as they developed. more...

If next summer is rained off, blame the melting Arctic

James Screen

November 5th, 2013

Fed up with rainy summers? Blame global warming, and specifically, the melting Arctic. But for the future, nothing is certain. more...

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