Climate change drove coral reefs to a total ecosystem collapse lasting thousands of years, according to a paper published this week in Science. The paper shows how natural climatic shifts stopped reef growth in the eastern Pacific for 2,500 years. The reef shutdown, which began 4,000 years ago, corresponds to a period of dramatic swings in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). “As humans continue to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the climate is once again on the threshold of a new regime, with dire consequences for reef ecosystems unless we get control of climate change,” said coauthor Richard Aronson, a biology professor at Florida Institute of Technology.
It is a question that has puzzled climate scientists for a long time: Under global climate warming, how will the El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO) respond?
Over the course of 2012 ENSO has moved from La Niña to El Niño state. Various ENSO forecasting models (see NOAA NECP, IRI ensemble below) now show Pacific equatorial SSTs anomalies will remain positive for the remainder of 2012 – … Continue reading
A United States and Spanish research team has conducted a study into the most likely causes of climate change and came to a rather surprising conclusion. The most feasible manner of stopping climate change is halting economic growth. Or changing … Continue reading
As global temperatures rise, the most threatened ecosystems are those that depend on a season of snow and ice, scientists from the nation’s Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network say.”The vulnerability of cool, wet areas to climate change is striking,” says Julia Jones, a lead author in a special issue of the journal BioScience released today featuring results from more than 30 years of LTER, a program of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Comparing the different ENSO forecast models we conclude the first half of 2012 will most likely (on average) be dominated by the current La Niña phase. Most models however show progression towards neutral and some to El Niño before the … Continue reading
Graph of the day: world temperature record between 1880 and 2011, showing annual and 5-year mean temperature, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) data. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, Robert Simmon.
We knew there must have been a connection between climate warming and damaging droughts in the world’s largest rainforest, as the two globally hottest years on record (2005 and 2010) coincide with the two record droughts in the Amazon – … Continue reading