Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday (noon) mash

Getting caught up on some climate news:

Hurricanes: A paper in last week’s Science suggests the reported trend in hurricane intensity over the past thirty years could be an artefact of changes in the technology used to measure hurricane winds (also see news coverage). It is not disputing the increase in Atlantic Ocean temperatures or the warmer water = fuel for hurricane theory, rather questioning the dependability of the observed wind data. I imagine there’ll be a bit dispute about whether the paper is correct or not. Regardless, it is a good reminder that we always have to think about measurement techniques and how they may have changed over time (the #1 reason sea level rise is probably under-reported in Kiribati).

Dead Zones: Scientists are reporting the growth of a large hypoxic or “dead zone” off the Oregon Coast that is killing fish and other marine life. The emergence of the low-oxygen waters is related to winds and warm weather delivering the nutrients that promote algae production. The difference between this and the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” is the source of nutrients: in the Gulf, the nutrients come from the Mississippi River, off the Oregon coast, deeper nutrient-rich water is bring brought to the surface.

Climate change and plant life: If you’re interested in the how climate change could affect plant growth and the like, take a look at the series of presentations made available by the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre for GHG Accounting (which is just now closing up shop after seven years).

Finally, "Mum, can I have a raise in my allowance?": The British Environment Secretary has proposed using trade-able personal carbon emissions ‘allowances’ to reduce emissions (reported in Nature and ENN). It’s a clever idea, but would be a tough sell in North America.

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