Retreating glaciers threaten river biodiversity worldwide

The projected disappearance of small glaciers* worldwide threatens to eliminate the water supply for numerous towns in valleys, such as the Ecuadorian capital Quito, fed by the rivers that flow down from the surrounding mountains. But retreating ice is also a threat to freshwater fauna. According to a study published in Nature Climate Change, the local and regional diversity of mountain aquatic fauna will be reduced considerably if predictions are realised. Until now, the impact of global thawing on biodiversity in watercourses had never been calculated in detail.

Climate change lowers production of nuclear and coal-fired power plants

Warmer water and reduced river flows in the United States and Europe in recent years have led to reduced production, or temporary shutdown, of several thermoelectric power plants. For instance, the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama had to shut down more than once last summer because the Tennessee River’s water was too warm to use it for cooling.

climate change nuclear coal
Continue reading

Effects of climate change on mountain plants is delayed

Percentage of unsuitable occupied ecological sites

Percentage of unsuitable sites among those predicted to be occupied.

A modeling study from the European Alps suggests that population declines to be observed during the upcoming decades will probably underestimate the long-term effects of recent climate warming on mountain plants. A European team of ecologists around Stefan Dullinger from the Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation and Landscape Ecology of the University of Vienna presents a new modeling tool to predict migration of mountain plants which explicitly takes population dynamic processes into account. Their results are published in “Nature Climate Change“.

Continue reading

Some corals resistant to ocean acidification

With atmospheric and oceanic CO2 levels rising and the consequent acidification of the oceans, marine life has to adapt rapidly if they want to stay around. Especially calcium carbonate skeleton building organisms are affected by the rapidly dwindling seawater pH … Continue reading

Global ocean temperatures have been rising for at least a century

Locations of Argo's ocean-profiling robots

The location of Argo's 3,500 ocean-profiling robots in the world's oceans. (Credit: Image courtesy of Scripps Institute of Oceanography)

A new study contrasting ocean temperature readings of the 1870s with temperatures of the modern seas reveals an upward trend of global ocean warming spanning at least 100 years.

Continue reading

SRM geoengineering more likely to increase global food production

If we would pump aerosols in the stratosphere to artificially cool the Earth and thereby compensate (part of) the current climate warming, we would be permanently living under a slight sunshade. That would mean in a futuristic world it may … Continue reading

No more ‘horror winters’ for Europe – not for several years ahead – and indeed also not this year

Extremely cold winters for Europe persisting for several months are very rare. The last one to fit the definition occurred in 1963, almost half a century ago. Still many weather forecasters and media seem inclined (as again happened this year) … Continue reading

Despite recession carbon emissions keep rising to new records

We knew CO2 emissions reached a new record high in 2010, at 30.6 gigatonnes. Now a new study by CICERO, the Tyndall Centre and other institutes reconfirms the strong rebound after the 2008 global financial crisis – and predicts that … Continue reading