Highest-Ever CO2 Levels Killing Coral Reefs

This image depicts all of the areas that the M...

This image depicts all of the areas that the Millenium Coral Reef Landsat Archive covers. Red dots indicate coral reef data at the website: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi/landsat.pl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people are by now familiar with the Keeling curve, a graph showing the steady increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere measured over decades by the Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s longest-running CO2 monitoring station.

The research, started by renowned climate scientist Dave Keeling in 1958, is considered one of the pillars of the scientific consensus that human activity is the main driver of climate change. This year, the data revealed a troubling milestone: CO2 concentrations had passed 400 parts per million for the first time since the dawn of human civilization.

Less familiar, but every bit as troubling to climate scientists, is a parallel slope on a different track of climate data: the increase of CO2 in the world’s oceans, which has been climbing almost in lockstep with the Keeling curve. The rising carbon level is cranking up ocean acidity with astonishing speed—probably 10 times faster than at any point in about 50 million years, according to scientists.

Among other concerns, scientists are now increasingly worried that the acidification of the oceans is likely to cause one of the first abrupt, severe and probably irreversible consequences of global climate change: the loss of tropical coral reefs.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/Loss_of_Tropical_Coral_Reefs_May_Be_1st_Irreversible_Climate_Consequence.html#FGL2gFlgtb5lKOZc.99

Pennsylvania Climate Plan, Recommendations Released

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s climate action plan arrived just in time for Christmas, but it’s already a year late.

The draft document — an update of a 2009 plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the state — comes out of the Department of Environmental Protection. It’s based on workplans recommended by a 15-person committee representing industry, government and nonprofits.

The legislation that required this report said the update should have been issued at the end of 2012.

The latest climate action plan proposes expanding natural gas distribution pipelines to give more Pennsylvanians access to the fuel. It also advocates encouraging operators of coal mines to capture some of the methane vented into the air before, during, or after mining activity.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2013/12/20/State-climate-plan-recommendations-released/stories/201312200062#ixzz2o2UTDBS7

Underwater Destiny For Many N.J. Towns?

Picture 048New Jersey may have been stronger than the storm, but the sea will prove stronger in the long run, scientists fear.

Dozens of its towns – including such familiar places as Atlantic City, Hoboken, Beach Haven and Wildwood — may already be doomed to partly flooded futures.

Some neighborhoods are already precariously close to sea level, as evidenced by projects that have committed more than a billion dollars to replenish Jersey beaches and protect them over several decades. Even climate-change skeptics acknowledge that sea levels have been slowly rising.

“It’s rare that you’ll find someone to say that sea level isn’t rising,” said Jon Miller, a professor of coastal engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. “That’s hard to refute.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/Sea_levels_to_swamp_many_NJ_towns.html#CCBF7Yr8GmBlByYB.99

Saving The Nation’s Green Giants: Tall, Lush Trees

Walking under his giant white oak tree on his Washington County farm, Paul Karpan appears calm, even meditative, with spirits high.  In his 90 years, he’s spent many inspired hours with the green monster.

“This is a landmark on this farm — something you can kind of be proud of,” he said.

The mighty oak, which likely took root in the nation’s earliest decades, provided shade for his beef cows, a site for picnics and a target for a few bolts of lightning, all while serving as an environmental steward of his 51-year-old Blaine Township farm.  Hug this tree and your arms barely bend.

Mr. Karpan keeps an eye on the old oak to assure it’s still standing because he knows that “every big tree has to die off.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/saving-the-nations-green-giants-tall-lush-trees-698912/#ixzz2biJprHeM

2012 Was Hottest Year Ever In U.S.

WASHINGTON – America set an off-the-charts heat record in 2012.

A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed the average annual U.S. temperature last year up to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit, the government announced Tuesday.  That’s a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998.

Breaking temperature records by an entire degree is unprecedented, scientists say.  Normally, records are broken by a tenth of a degree or so.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/us/2012-was-hottest-year-ever-in-us-669515/#ixzz2HR9fxKLW

2010 Hottest Year On Record?

Each of the 10 warmest average global temperatures recorded since 1880 have occurred in the last fifteen years. The warmest year-to-date on record, through June, was 1998, and 2010 is warmer so far (note: although 1998 was the warmest year through June, a late-year warm surge in 2005 made that year the warmest total year). Analysis by the National Climatic Data Center reveals that June of 2010 was the warmest global average for that month on record, and is also the warmest year-to-date from January to June…..read the entire article at:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100715_globalstats_sup.html