5 August 2014

Sea-level spikes can harm beaches worse than hurricane

Sea-level spikes can harm beaches worse than hurricane

Unforeseen, short-term increases in sea level caused by strong winds, pressure changes and fluctuating ocean currents can cause more damage to beaches on the East Coast over the course of a year than a powerful hurricane making landfall, according to a new study. The new research suggests that these sea-level anomalies could be more of a threat to coastal homes and businesses than previously thought, and could become higher and more frequent as a result of climate change.

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24 July 2014

Dropped cell phone calls become rain gauges in West Africa

Cell tower in Burkina Faso

A shaky cell phone connection during a rainstorm can be an annoying nuisance. But now scientists are showing that these weakened signals can be used to monitor rainfall in West Africa, a technique that could help cities in the region better prepare for floods and combat weather-related diseases.

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23 July 2014

Nature’s roadblock to hurricane prediction

Nature’s roadblock to hurricane prediction

The quiet Atlantic hurricane season of 2013 came as a surprise to many, as seasonal forecasts had consistently predicted an unusually large crop of named storms. A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds that internal variability—processes that unfold without being dictated by larger-scale features—can make one season twice as active as another, even when El Niño and other large-scale hurricane-shaping elements are unchanged. The results suggest that seasonal hurricane forecasts could be improved by conveying the amount of unavoidable uncertainty in the outlook.

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22 July 2014

Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides

Oso landslide

The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the “remobilization” of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes.

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14 July 2014

Global climate models fail to simulate key dust characteristics

Global climate models fail to simulate key dust characteristics

Climate models that simulate the airborne African dust that influences Atlantic Ocean hurricanes are not up to the task of accurately representing the characteristics of that dust.

In a new study, researchers led by Amato Evan, a climate scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, examined the performance of 23 state-of-the-art global climate models used in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The researchers found that none of them yielded accurate data on dust characteristics.

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8 July 2014

Livestock digestion released more methane than oil and gas industry in 2004

Livestock digestion released more methane than oil and gas industry in 2004

Livestock were the single largest source of methane gas emissions in the United States in 2004, releasing 70 percent more of the powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere than the oil and gas industry, according to a new study.

The new study based on satellite data from 2004 provides the clearest picture yet of methane emissions over the entire U.S. It shows human activities released more of the gas into the atmosphere than previously thought and the sources of these emissions could be much different than government estimates.

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30 June 2014

Cold War era samples reveal sharp drop in major global warming agent in part of Arctic

Cold War era samples reveal sharp drop in major global warming agent in part of Arctic

Scientists measuring soot on thousands of air filters from the Finnish Arctic found a 78 percent decrease in the particulates — the second largest man-made contributor to global warming — from 1971 to 2010, according to a new study.

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24 June 2014

The risky business of climate change

The risky business of climate change

Up to $106 billion worth of coastal homes and businesses in the U.S. are likely to be underwater by the year 2050 due to rising sea levels, and up to $507 billion in coastal property will likely be below sea level by 2100, according to a new report released today. The report is based in part on a new study on sea level rise in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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12 June 2014

Where it burns, it floods: predicting post-fire mudslides in the West

Where it burns, it floods: predicting post-fire mudslides in the West

By Alexandra Branscombe WASHINGTON, DC – Just a week after a 21,000-acre wildfire between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona, residents there are already bracing for mudslides that could surge down the burned slopes. These water-fueled flows of burned-out trees, loose rocks and mud can pack enough power to wipe out homes and roads. A new online hazard assessment system could help threatened communities in central Arizona and elsewhere in the western …

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6 June 2014

Earth’s most abundant mineral finally gets a name

bridgmanite

The mineral said to be the most abundant of our planet, but found so deep within Earth’s interior that scientists usually cannot observe it directly, now has a name.

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