Atmospheric

Ethanol fuel refineries could be releasing much larger amounts of some ozone-forming compounds into the atmosphere than previous estimates. 

Ethanol, a government mandated and subsidized renewable transportation fuel made from corn, now constitutes approximately 10 percent of the fuel used in gasoline vehicles in the U.S., according to the new study. The renewable fuel mandate was a successful environmental effort to increase the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum imports, while encouraging development and expansion of the U.S. renewable fuels sector, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Making a series of relatively minor and realistic changes to UK diets would reduce UK diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 20 percent and extend average life expectancy by eight months, according to new model. 


British people may not like blood rain but Sahara Desert dust is not traveling 2,000 miles over an ocean just to make their cars dirty - it also helps cool things down. 

Researchers have analyzed the composition and radiative effect of desert aerosols during two episodes which simultaneously affected Badajoz (Spain) and Évora (Portugal) in August 2012 and found that it caused radiative cooling of the Earth's surface. Atmospheric aerosols (solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere) are difficult to examine for various reasons - they remain in the atmosphere for only a short time and their cause may be natural or anthropogenic.

Everyone discusses ways to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (or not) but less considered is that there is a massive storehouse of carbon that has the potential to significantly alter the climate change picture. 

Ancient carbon, locked away in Arctic permafrost for thousands of years, could transformed into carbon dioxide and released into the atmosphere by warmth. 


Higher elevations around the world may be warming much faster than previously thought, according to a paper which reviewed elevation-dependent warming mechanisms such as loss of snow and ice, increased latent heat release at high altitudes, low-elevation aerosol pollutants that increase the difference in warming rates between low and high elevations, plus other factors that enhance warming with elevation in different regions, and in different seasons. 


A new analysis of 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it was projected under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

Natural variability in surface temperatures - caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors - can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade and these "climate wiggles" can slow or speed the rate of warming from decade to decade, or accentuate or offset the effects of increases in greenhouse gas concentrations.

A new review of existing studies suggests a gradual, prolonged release of greenhouse gases from permafrost soils in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

That sounds like bad news, and it is, but the good news is it actually means more time to adjust to ways to reduce emissions and prevent it from happening at all.  In the original global warming scenarios, climate scientists contended that as permafrost thawed, carbon would be released in a big “bomb” and significantly accelerate climate warming.  But a gradual case means more time to fix things. 

It isn't just the forests and tundra that can release climate warming and ozone-depleting chemicals, buildings can do it also, like when they crash into the ground following an earthquake and tsunami.  Emissions of these chemicals, called halocarbons, increased by 21 percent to 91 percent over typical levels,.

The 2011 Tohoku earthquake released thousands of tons of chemicals into the atmosphere, according to a new study which suggests that the thousands of buildings destroyed and damaged during the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan four years ago released 6,600 metric tons (7,275 U.S. tons) of gases stored in insulation, appliances and other equipment into the atmosphere. 


 WHOI
The biggest challenge facing climate models is similar to those facing economic ones - predicting the past is relatively easy, but predicting the future is far more of a challenge. In the United States, predicting hurricanes is less accurate than NCAA tournament pools, forecasters did not come close to predicting 15 in 2005 or 2 in 2013, but a team from the University of Arizona write in an upcoming Weather and Forecasting article that they are 23 percent less error prone - at predicting the past, anyway.
Though the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has asked science journalists and political writers wearing a scientific beard to not attribute every weather event to climate change, it is still common to have every storm, drought and temperature to be listed as proof of climate change.

But that isn't science.  Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and ETH Zurich have instead shown that global warming actually tends to reduce temperature variability.