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Updated: 44 weeks 4 days ago

How illegal sand mining in Sierra Leone is destroying the local beaches

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 10:03
Ecologist: It all started after the civil war in our country when most of the houses were burned, leaving people homeless. When people were finally ready to rebuild their homes, contracts were given to Chinese and Senegalese construction companies which led to a huge demand for sand. Now, sand mines have become a place where otherwise unemployed young people can find work. It began slowly on the beaches close to Freetown, Hamilton and Lakka with companies in need of sand to make asphalt for road building...
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Global warming mystery: Are North and South really polar opposites?

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 08:00
Christian Science Monitor: The amount of land in the high Arctic covered by trees and upright shrubs could increase by up to 52 percent by midcentury, warming the region to levels climate scientists had previously not expected to see there until 2100. That's the take-home message from a new study that looks at statistical ties between climate and vegetation types to estimate how the Arctic's landscape could change with global warming. The impact of the vegetation changes on the region's climate not only would be felt at...
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Fiji: Hope for policy

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 08:00
Fiji Times: FOREIGN Affairs permanent secretary Amena Yauvoli hopes the government and the public are committed to the implementation of the National Climate Change Policy which was launched in March last year. Mr Yauvoli, who spoke at the opening of the National Climate Change Co-ordination Committee meeting in Suva last week, said the climate change unit provided the co-ordination for the implementation of all climate change-related activities. "The important roles of climate change unit are to provide...
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Arctic ‘greening’ seen through global warming

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 08:00
Agence France-Presse: Land within the Arctic circle is likely to experience explosive "greening' in the next few decades as grass, shrubs and trees thrive in soil stripped of ice and permafrost by global warming, a study said on Sunday. Wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 52 percent by the 2050s as the so-called tree line -- the maximum latitude at which trees can grow -- shifts hundreds of kilometers (miles) north, according to computer simulations published in the journal Nature Climate Change....
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Top scientists agree climate has changed for good in Australia

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 05:00
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: The nation's top climate scientists and science bodies have for the first time endorsed a major report that says Australia's climate has shifted permanently in some cases. The peer-reviewed assessment notes that there is "strong consensus" around this central finding, and in some cases the weather has changed for good. Last summer was by all means a record breaker, with 123 weather records broken in 90 days. As well as heat waves and unprecedented temperatures, there was heavy rainfall and...
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Arctic 'greening' seen through warming

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 05:00
Agence France-Presse: Land within the Arctic circle is likely to experience explosive "greening" in the next few decades as grass, shrubs and trees thrive in soil stripped of ice and permafrost by global warming, a study said. Wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 52% by the 2050s as the so-called tree line - the maximum latitude at which trees can grow - shifts hundreds of kilometres north, according to computer simulations published in the journal Nature Climate Change. "Such widespread redistribution...
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Mislabelled fish slip into Europe's menus

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 01:05
BBC: We are all eating much more fish than we used to - but are we eating the fish we think we are? Official figures show that global consumption of fish and seafood per person is rising steeply - but research also reveals that much of what gets sold turns out to be not as described on the packet. Earlier this year Europe's horsemeat scandal revealed how processed meat can get mislabelled in a complicated supply chain. That appears to be an issue with fish, too. On a large scale, cheap fish is...
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New Theory for Why Antarctic Sea Ice Is Growing

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 16:38
National Geographic: It's a global warming paradox. As air and sea temperatures rise, Arctic sea ice is rapidly and uniformly dwindling. In 2012, Arctic sea ice declined so much that the loss "utterly" obliterated the previous record, set in 2007, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. As of 2012, the area of Arctic sea ice around the North Pole had shrunk to 1.58 million square miles (4.1 million square kilometers)-the smallest measurement since 1979, when satellite observations began. But...
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Massive prehistoric bird extinction linked to human colonization

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 16:05
ScienceDaily: Research by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville professor has found that about a thousand bird species became extinct following human colonization. Research by Alison Boyer, a research assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an international team studied the extinction rates of nonperching land birds in the Pacific Islands from 700 to 3,500 years ago. Some of the birds studied included birds of prey and ducks. The team uncovered the magnitude of the extinctions and insight...
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Antarctic thawing season keeps getting longer

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 14:51
LiveScience: More ice is melting for a longer period of time each year on the Antarctic Peninsula, new research shows. The area is warming more quickly than almost any other spot on Earth. Temperatures on this mountainous strip of land have risen by 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) since the 1950s, according to a news release from the British Antarctic Survey, whose scientists were involved in the research. The study, published today (March 27) in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface,...
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Caribbean nations search for oil amid spill fears

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 14:00
Associated Press: The turquoise waters that have long brought treasure seekers to the Caribbean now are drawing a new kind of explorer as countries across the region increasingly open their seas to oil exploration. From the Bahamas and Cuba down to Aruba and Suriname, international oil companies are lining up to locate potentially rich offshore deposits in the Caribbean. The countries hope drilling could lead to a black-gold bonanza, easing demand for imported oil and diversifying their economies. It's a longstanding...
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Should Russia fear climate change forecasts?

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 13:50
RIA Novosti: In March, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations published forecasts for climate change in Russia. According to the Anti-Stikhiya Center, the temperature in the Arctic may rise by seven degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century, as a result of global climate change. Experts note that the rate of climate change on Russian territory over the last hundred years has been between 1.5- and 2-times faster than elsewhere in the world. In addition, in the last decade, the speed of warming in...
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Melt 'causes Antarctic sea ice rise'

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 10:12
BBC: Climate change is expanding Antarctica's sea ice, according to a scientific study in the journal Nature Geoscience. The paradoxical phenomenon is thought to be caused by relatively cold plumes of fresh water derived from melting beneath the Antarctic ice shelves. This melt water has a relatively low density, so it accumulates in the top layer of the ocean. The cool surface waters then re-freeze more easily during Autumn and Winter. This explains the observed peak in sea ice during these...
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Ships must kill off the beasties in the ballast water

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 07:11
New Scientist: THEY called it the blob that ate the Black Sea. Thirty years ago, a ship from North America sailed up the Bosphorus and dumped ballast water containing comb jellyfish from back home. The invader – Mnemiopsis leidyi – went crazy, gobbling up plankton and triggering a catastrophic decline in marine life, including commercial fisheries. At one point its biomass reached a billion tonnes, 10 times the world's annual fish landings. Around a decade later an unknown ship, probably from the Bay of Bengal,...
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Oil Giant Exxon Starts $160M Drilling Project Off Ireland's Coast

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 05:00
Irish Independent: Oil giant ExxonMobil kicks off a $160m-plus (EUR125m) drilling programme off the west coast of Ireland this weekend with hopes that confirmation of major fossil fuel reserves will transform the country's economy. The US company is planning to drill test wells over a four-month period at two prospects at the Dunquin licence area in the Porcupine Basin, 200km off shore. Previous data has suggested that there could be over 300 million barrels of oil and 8.5 trillion cubic feet of gas between the...
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Global warming means seas freeze more off Antarctica: study

Sun, 03/31/2013 - 17:16
Reuters: Global warming is expanding the extent of sea ice around Antarctica in winter in a paradoxical shift caused by cold plumes of summer melt water that re-freeze fast when temperatures drop, a study showed on Sunday. An increasing summer thaw of ice on the edges of Antarctica, twinned with less than expected snowfall on the frozen continent, is also adding slightly to sea level rise in a threat to low-lying areas around the world, it said. Climate scientists have been struggling to explain why sea...
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Extinction May Not Be Forever

Sun, 03/31/2013 - 15:49
Scientific American: De-extinction. What if plants and animal species wiped out of existence could be brought back? That's the novel notion springing from recent advances in synthetic biology. The idea is simple. Find samples, like the mummified passenger pigeon discovered recently in a museum desk drawer, and collect its DNA. Compare said DNA to that of its closest living relatives to see what specific genes make a passenger pigeon unique. Then splice those crucial genes into the living relative's DNA strands to...
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A duel over sand dunes in New Jersey as residents fight Christie plan to take land

Sun, 03/31/2013 - 14:00
Record: Police in Maine publicly displayed the names and addresses of men accused of buying sex from a fitness instructor. The New York City health department posts letter grades on restaurants, alerting customers when the highest of standards aren’t being met. And the Port Authority recently published online the names of E-ZPass cheats. Now, taking a similar tack, Governor Christie is threatening to shame oceanfront property owners publicly if they refuse to allow sand dunes — some that could reach 22...
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FEMA's climate change denial

Sun, 03/31/2013 - 10:36
Star-Ledger: To the mountain of difficulties facing New Jersey families after Hurricane Sandy, add one more: the federal government`s unwillingness to help them predict the impact of climate change over the next several decades. The flood maps drawn up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency do not consider the rising sea levels or increasing frequency of big storms that scientists predict. "Right now, we don`t do that," says Dave Miller, who runs FEMA`s flood insurance program. "Do the new maps reflect...
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Antarctic sea ice grows as result of warming

Sun, 03/31/2013 - 05:00
Climate News Network: The Arctic may be shrinking as the world warms but Antarctic sea ice is expanding. Blame global warming for that, too, say Dutch scientists. The paradox is that increasing temperatures have set in motion a chain of events in the southern seas that have the opposite effect. Engineers call this negative feedback. So do Richard Bintanja and colleagues of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. They report in Nature Geoscience that as the Antarctic ice shelves melt, the resulting cool fresh...
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