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21 June 2017

Extraordinary storms caused massive Antarctic sea ice loss in 2016

Extraordinary storms caused massive Antarctic sea ice loss in 2016

Antarctic sea ice – frozen ocean water that rings the southernmost continent – has grown over the past few decades but declined sharply in late 2016. By March of 2017 – the end of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer – Antarctic sea ice had reached its lowest area since records began in 1978. Puzzled scientists wanted to know why.

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12 June 2017

New study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink, atmospheric gases sponge (plus video)

New study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink, atmospheric gases sponge (plus video)

A new study is one the first to estimate how much and how quickly the ocean absorbs atmospheric gases and contrast it with the efficiency of heat absorption. Using two computer models that simulate the ocean, scientists found that gases are more easily absorbed over time than heat energy.

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8 June 2017

Some clouds filled with ice lollipops

Some clouds filled with ice lollipops

A cloud full of lollipops may sound like the most delicious carnival treat ever… except this cloud’s lollipops are made of ice. Scientists spotted the lollipop-shaped ice crystals during a research flight in southwest England. The researchers flew through a large cloud system in 2009 to better understand how ice forms at relatively mild temperatures.

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7 June 2017

Offshore wind turbines vulnerable to Category 5 hurricane gusts

Offshore wind turbines vulnerable to Category 5 hurricane gusts

Offshore wind turbines built according to current standards may not be able to withstand the powerful gusts of a Category 5 hurricane, creating potential risk for any such turbines built in hurricane-prone areas, new University of Colorado Boulder-led research shows. The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, highlights the limitations of current turbine design and could provide guidance for manufacturers and engineers looking to build more hurricane-resilient turbines in the future.

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6 June 2017

Study sheds new light on future of key Antarctic glacier

Study sheds new light on future of key Antarctic glacier

Thwaites Glacier’s ice loss may not progress as quickly as thought By Carol Rasmussen The melt rate of West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier is an important concern, because this glacier alone is currently responsible for about 1 percent of global sea level rise. A new study finds that Thwaites’ ice loss will continue, but not quite as rapidly as previous studies have estimated. The new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, …

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5 June 2017

What caused the most toxic algal bloom ever observed in Monterey Bay?

What caused the most toxic algal bloom ever observed in Monterey Bay?

In late spring 2015, the West Coast of North America experienced one of the most toxic algal blooms on record. A new study shows that, at least in Monterey Bay, California, the diatoms in this bloom became particularly toxic because of an unusually low ratio of silicate to nitrate in the waters of the bay.

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25 May 2017

Scientists discover new mode of ice loss in Greenland

Scientists discover new mode of ice loss in Greenland

A new study finds that during Greenland’s hottest summers on record, 2010 and 2012, the ice in Rink Glacier on the island’s west coast didn’t just melt faster than usual, it slid through the glacier’s interior in a gigantic wave, like a warmed freezer pop sliding out of its plastic casing. The wave persisted for four months, with ice from upstream continuing to move down to replace the missing mass for at least four more months.

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17 May 2017

Researchers track groundwater loss during drought in California’s Central Valley

Researchers track groundwater loss during drought in California’s Central Valley

A new study from researchers at UCLA and the University of Houston reveals estimates of significant groundwater loss in California’s Central Valley during the recent drought and sparks questions of sustainability for the important agricultural area.

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11 May 2017

Warmer temps cause decline in key runoff measure

Warmer temps cause decline in key runoff measure

Since the mid-1980s, the percentage of precipitation that becomes streamflow in the Upper Rio Grande watershed has fallen more steeply than at any point in at least 445 years, according to a new study. While this decline was driven in part by the transition from an unusually wet period to an unusually dry period, rising temperatures deepened the trend.

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10 May 2017

Research finds spike in dust storms in American Southwest driven by ocean changes

Research finds spike in dust storms in American Southwest driven by ocean changes

People living in the American Southwest have experienced a dramatic increase in windblown dust storms in the last two decades, likely driven by large-scale changes in sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean drying the region’s soil, according to new NOAA-led research. With the increase in dust storms, scientists have also documented a spike in Valley fever, an infectious disease caught by inhaling a soil-dwelling fungus found primarily in the Southwest.

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