Climate, Geology, News

This Globe Trotting geologist will help us better understand Climate Change

Hima Hassenruck-Gudipati (BS '14) on a backpacking trip along the Tour de Mont Blanc, one of the most popular long distance walks in Europe.

Hima Hassenruck-Gudipati graduated this year from Caltech. She majored in mechanical engineering but minored in geology and her main area of interest was seeing how green technology and engineering can help mitigate the effects of climate change. Now, she has embarked on a global quest to understand the past, the present, and the future of climate change. When Caltech wrote this article…

Climate, Environmental Issues, News

Melting Arctic has Doubled the Risk of Extreme Winters in Europe and Asia

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The most complex computer simulation of its kind to date suggests that melting Arctic ice is significantly contributing to extreme cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere, with last winter’s Polar Vortex that swept the North American east coast serving as an example. Moreover, the analysis suggests that global warming has actually doubled the risk that any given winter will be…

Biology, Climate, News, Nutrition

Tea flavors changing with shifting rainfall patterns

People working on tea plantations. Image via China Tour.

Climate change has many unexpected consequences – as a research has shown yet again. This time, a team of Montana scientists have shown that the tea flavors are changing, mainly as a result of shifting rainfall patterns. This variability can jeopardize the livelihood of tea growers and has significant effects on the end product we drink. Tea is the most…

Climate, World Problems

The Sixth Grand Extinction Will Be ‘Invisible’

The Quaternary period saw the extinctions of numerous predominantly larger, especially megafaunal, species, many of which occurred during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch. Among the main causes hypothesized by paleontologists are natural climate change and overkill by humans. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Life on Earth has so far passed through five distinct crises that threatened to wipe it out, typically referred to as mass extinctions. The direst one was some 252 million years ago when 96 percent of marine species and 70 percent of life on land became extinct following a yet unconfirmed series of cataclysmic events known as the end-Permian extinction. Mass…

Climate, News

Australia’s 2013 Heat Waves linked to Man-made Climate Change, 5 Studies Conclude

GOVERNMENT OF AUSTRALIA

Australia went through two almost unbearable consecutive summers. Of course, Australia is a naturally hot country, but the temperatures were extremely high even for them. Record temperatures were recorded and heat waves swept throughout the entire country. Now, five separate studies published today conclude that the blazing summers can be blamed on man-made climate change. Sizzling Hot The January 2014 southeastern…

Climate, Environmental Issues, News, Pollution

World deforestation surprisingly results in net cooling effect

Cropland bordering rainforest in Iguacu National Park, Argentina, Brazil. Photo: Watson Institute, Brown University

In the 1950s rainforests  covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years. It’s believed that deforestation accounts for about 20% of global emissions of CO2, because of the a reduced carbon storage capacity. Yet there may be a hidden side…

Climate, Environment, News

Study concludes there is a 99.999% chance of global warming being caused by humans

It's time to stop gambling our planet's temperature.  Kraevski Vitaly/Shutterstock

A new study concluded that there’s about a 1 in 100,000 chance that the global warming in the past 60 years is not caused by human-released greenhouse gas emissions. It’s much more a debate between TV shows and regular Joes than it is between scientists – you could basically call it a consensus by now, with over 99.83% of all…

Climate, Geology, News

‘Widespread methane leakage’ from ocean floor off US coast

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A worrying report states that over 500 bubbling methane vents were found on the seafloor off the US east coast. The unexpected finding suggests that there are large volumes of the gas contained in a type of sludgy ice called methane hydrate and as global waters continue to heat up, the methane will be released in large quantities. Methane hydrate (also called…

Climate, Environmental Issues, News

63 trillion gallons of groundwater lost in 2013 drought in Western US

A snake-like trickle of water flows underneath Lake Oroville's Enterprise Bridge. Image credits:  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A new study shows that last an incredible 63 trillion gallons of groundwater were lost in the Western US alone – so much that it’s actually causing the ground level to rise. The Earth has lifted up about 0.16 inches over the last 18 months in the area, and up to 0.6 inches in the Californian mountains. California’s drought is already…

Climate, Environment, News

Study confirms “global warming hiatus” is in the deep oceans

(Top) Global average surface temperatures, where black dots are yearly averages. Two flat periods (hiatus) are separated by rapid warming from 1976-1999. (Middle) Observations of heat content, compared to the average, in the north Atlantic Ocean. (Bottom) Salinity of the seawater in the same part of the Atlantic. Higher salinity is seen to coincide with more ocean heat storage.
Credit: K. Tung / Univ. of Washington

Observations of climate change often report a “missing heat” – a hiatus in the global warming, which went unaccounted for; but now, a new study concludes that the heat absent from the Earth’s surface for more than a decade is plunging deep in the north and south Atlantic Ocean, and this is part of a naturally occurring cycle. Climate change deniers…