Environment Correspondent
Deborah's Feed
Feb 23, 2011

Ancient megadroughts preview warmer climate -study

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Ancient megadroughts that
lasted thousands of years in what is now the American Southwest
could offer a preview of a climate changed by modern greenhouse
gas emissions, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The scientists found these persistent dry periods were
different from even the most severe decades-long modern
droughts, including the 1930s “Dust Bowl.” And they determined
that these millennial droughts occurred at times when Earth’s
mean annual temperature was similar to or slightly higher than
what it is now.

Feb 22, 2011
via Environment Forum

Job security for allergists?

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Please don’t blame Dr. Jay Portnoy, an allergy specialist in Kansas City, Missouri. He doesn’t go around planting ragweed. But he does treat people who suffer from asthma and hay fever, and he figures he will be busier now that the ragweed pollen that exacerbates these conditions is around longer each season than it used to be.

“These are really common diseases and they’re very expensive and they definitely affect quality of life and it’s just going to get worse for pollen sufferers,” Portnoy said of the report he helped write on climate change’s impact on the ragweed pollen season. “Of course for allergists like me, it’s job security.”

Feb 21, 2011

Climate change creates longer ragweed season

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A changing climate means allergy-causing ragweed pollen has a longer season that extends further north than it did just 16 years ago, U.S. scientists reported Monday.

In research that gibes with projections by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, plant and allergy experts found that ragweed pollen season lasted as much as 27 days longer in 2009 than it did in 1995. The further north in the Western Hemisphere, the more dramatic the change in the length of pollen season.

Feb 16, 2011

Rising seas threaten 180 U.S. cities by 2100: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rising seas spurred by climate change could threaten 180 U.S. coastal cities by 2100, a new study says, with Miami, New Orleans and Virginia Beach among those most severely affected.

Previous studies have looked at where rising waters might go by the end of this century, assuming various levels of sea level rise, but this latest research focused on municipalities in the contiguous 48 states with population of 50,000 or more.

Feb 14, 2011
via Environment Forum

Excess baggage in Bangkok: tortoises, lizards, spiders and snakes

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What happens when the airport scanner  shows shapes that look like live spiders, snakes, lizards and tortoises inside three big suitcases? Last week in Bangkok, it meant the detention of an Indonesian man and the seizure of 259 live creatures that were slotted into compartments in the black traveling bags.

The suspected smuggler reportedly went on a wildlife shopping spree in Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market, a hub for rare animal trade, according to conservation group TRAFFIC, which monitors illegal trafficking of species.

Feb 9, 2011
via Environment Forum

A winter’s tale of climate skepticism

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Another winter storm is brewing in Middle America. So what else is new?

It’s been one spate of severe weather after another even before 2011 began. And you would expect those skeptical of climate change to capitalize on the cold snap by questioning whether human-spurred global warming is a real deal.

Strangely enough, climate skeptics appear to be less vocal than they were last year, when Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma built an igloo as a blizzard blew through Washington DC, and dubbed it “Al Gore’s new home.” If it’s so cold, the argument went, how can there be global warming?

Feb 9, 2011

Polar bears and walruses at risk as Arctic ice melts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Polar bear mothers will have a harder time carrying cubs to term as Arctic sea ice dwindles, a new study said, and the U.S. government recognized that Pacific walruses need protection in their melting icy habitat.

Arctic ice reached the third-lowest level ever recorded in 2010, and was at record low levels in January. Because the Arctic is a major weather-maker for much of the Northern Hemisphere, these changes are being blamed for severe storms in some of the world’s most densely populated areas.

Feb 8, 2011

Climate skeptics unpersuaded by extra-warm 2010

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Remember 2010? U.S. and international scientists reckon it tied for the warmest year on record, supporting findings of unequivocal global climate change. Climate skeptics remain unconvinced.

Those who study the climate skeptic position say this raises echoes of scientific controversies of the past, including the debate over the health hazards of tobacco.

Jan 26, 2011
via Tales from the Trail

Salmon ‘chanted evening?

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The one word that leaped out of President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress wasn’t “optimism,” “business,” “teachers,” “economy” or “budget.”

To those who listened to the speech on National Public Radio, the memorable term was “salmon,” writ large in a word cloud NPR compiled from its listeners after Obama finished.

Jan 22, 2011
via Environment Forum

Hu’s visit is over, but China’s ecological footprint lingers

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The Chinese flags have disappeared from Washington’s wide avenues after China’s President Hu Jintao’s visit this week, but one statistic is still in the air: the rapidly expanding size of the Chinese ecological footprint, compared to the huge but slowing impact U.S. consumers have on global supplies of food, water, fuel — everything, really.

China and the United States are generally considered to hold the top two spots in the world for emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases. But how do they compare when consumption of all goods is taken into account?

    • About Deborah

      "I started with Reuters in 1986 in New York City, moving to Washington DC two years later. I've covered the Winter Olympics in Calgary and Salt Lake City, a couple wars, the State Department, White House, Pentagon, several long trials and a presidential sex scandal. Since 2006, I've been reporting on the environment and climate change."
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