Atmospheric

The public has long suffered from green fatigue, where constant doomsday prophecies by environmental groups have become background noise, but there is good news too. It just has to come from the world of science instead.

After the detection of the ozone-depleting properties of  chlorofluorocarbons
(CFCs) in the 1970s, data from satellite measurements in 1985 were startling; a huge hole had been discovered over the Antarctic in the ozone layer that protects the Earth from dangerous, carcinogenic UV rays and it was unclear how much was natural and what had been caused by man.


The most compelling argument for genetic modification is not accepting science or progressive ideals, it is that it has caused food production to dematerialize in dramatic fashion. Scientific optimization of plants, superior to all genetic modification schemes of the last 12,000 years, have allowed American farmers to raise more food on less land than was dreamed possible. 

There is a cultural tug of war happening in the developing world. Experts and policy makers want to embrace science but environmental groups promoting fear and doubt manage to scare the public. Yet there is a practical metric every farmer in India can see - ozone pollution in India damages enough food to feed 94 million people. 


Coastal regions under threat from sea-level rise need to tackle the immediate threats of human-led and other non-climatic changes, according to a new analysis. It's an even more pressing concern than possible climate change sea rises because those changes are already happening.

A team of 27 scientists led by Dr Sally Brown at the University of Southampton reviewed 24 years of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments, focusing on climate change and sea-level rise impacts in the coastal zone, and examined ways of how to better manage and cope with climate change. 


Black carbon pollutants from wood smoke might be enough to trap heat near the earth's surface and warm the climate but a new study led by McGill Professor Jill Baumgartner suggests that black carbon may also increase women's risk of cardiovascular disease. 

To investigate the effects of black carbon pollutants on the health of women cooking with traditional wood stoves, Professor Jill Baumgartner, a scholar at McGill's Institute for the Health and Social Policy, measured the daily exposure to different types of air pollutants, including black carbon, in 280 women in China's rural Yunnan province.


The vast reservoir of carbon stored in Arctic permafrost is gradually being converted back to carbon dioxide (CO2) after entering the freshwater system in a process thought to be controlled largely by microbial activity, but a new study concludes that sunlight, not bacteria, is the key to triggering release of CO2 from Arctic soils.

Since climate change could affect when and how permafrost is thawed, which begins the process of converting the organic carbon into CO2, it is vital to know what is happening due to man's impact, what is due to solar cycles and what is due to natural microbes.


By Karin Heineman, Inside Science

When tornadoes hit, they are often quick, deadly and come without warning.

In 2013, more than fifty people were killed during tornadoes.

“We have tornadoes at daytime, we have tornadoes at night,” said Dev Niyogi, a climatologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Now, researchers at Purdue say there are certain areas that may be more likely than others to be hit by tornadoes.

“The region just around the city becomes a hotspot for where a tornado can occur,” explained Niyogi.



By Agus Santoso, Senior Research Associate at UNSW Australia.

It looks like it’s all over bar the shouting for the chance of this year bringing on a “super” El Niño. Or is it?

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) was once used in dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent but once it was found to be a cause of ozone depleted, it was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons. Parties to the Montreal Protocol have reported zero new CCl4 emissions since, though worldwide emissions of CCl4 still average 39 kilotons per year, about 30 percent of emissions prior to the treaty going into effect.


Changes in the Asian monsoon have affected emissions of methane from the Tibetan Plateau over the last 6,000 years, finds a new paper.

The concentration of methane in the atmosphere has more than doubled over the past century, though it is very short lived compared to carbon dioxide and hasn't been considered much of a factor in climate change. Factors in methane levels include leaks from gas wells, increased rice cultivation and ruminant animals in the dairy and meat industry. It could also be caused partly by climate change feedbacks on natural processes, but that remains the subject of intense investigation. 

A recent study analyzed concentrations of African dust transported to South America and finds large seasonal peaks in winter and spring, which provides new insight into the overall human health and air quality impacts of African dust, including climate change-induced human health effects.

Researchers analyzed the dust concentrations in aerosol samples from two locations, French Guiana's capital city Cayenne and the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, to understand the amount, source regions, and seasonal patterns of airborne dust that travels across the North Atlantic Ocean.