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Climate Science News
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Horn of Africa Drying Ever Faster As Climate Warms

The findings from a new study suggest a worsening future for the conflict-troubled region, which includes Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Scientists suggest as global and regional warming continues, the eastern Horn of Africa, which includes Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia, will receive progressively less rain during the crucial "long rains" season of March, April and May.

Such a trend could exacerbate tensions in one of the most geopolitically unstable regions in the world.

The team’s suggestion that the Horn of Africa will become even drier contradicts the global climate models that indicate future warming will bring more rain to the region.

Image shows a sediment coring device simultaneously takes eight short, one-foot cores of the sediment surface from the seafloor. These short cores are useful because they capture the uppermost, youngest sediments, allowing scientists to measure sediment accumulated during the past several thousand years. (Courtesy: Peter deMenocal.)

See our report: http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/horn-of-africa-drying-ever-faster-as-climate-warms.html
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Warmer Oceans May Be Releasing Methane Says Study

Sonar image of bubbles rising from the seafloor off the Washington coast. The base of the column is 1/3 of a mile (515 meters) deep and the top of the plume is at 1/10 of a mile (180 meters) depth.

Bubble plumes off Washington, Oregon suggest warmer ocean may be releasing frozen methane.

Warming ocean temperatures a third of a mile below the surface, in a dark ocean in areas with little marine life, might attract scant attention. But this is precisely the depth where frozen pockets of methane ‘ice’ transition from a dormant solid to a powerful greenhouse gas.

New University of Washington research suggests that subsurface warming could be causing more methane gas to bubble up off the Washington and Oregon coast.

The study, in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, shows that of 168 bubble plumes observed within the past decade a disproportionate number were seen at a critical depth for the stability of methane hydrates.

(Image courtesy: Brendan Philip / UW)

See our report here: http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/warmer-oceans-may-be-releasing-methane-says-study.html
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Research: Polar Changes Have Rapid Global Impact

A marine sediment core sample from the South Atlantic with fossilised partially dissolved shells of planktonic organisms (Courtesy: Julia Gottschalk).

These shells provided evidence for a new study finds that changing climate in the polar regions can affect conditions in the rest of the world far quicker than previously thought.

The study, by an international team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge, examined how changes in ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean were related to climate conditions in the northern hemisphere during the last ice age, by examining data from ice cores and fossilised plankton shells. It found that variations in ocean currents and abrupt climate events in the North Atlantic region were tightly linked in the past, and that changes in the polar regions affected the ocean circulation and climate on the opposite side of the world.

See our report: http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/research-polar-climate-changes-have-rapid-global-impact.html
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Study Sees Powerful Winds Carving Away Antarctic Snow

Findings may boost estimates of contributions to sea level...

A new study has found that powerful winds are removing massive amounts of snow from parts of Antarctica, potentially boosting estimates of how much the continent might contribute to sea level. Up to now, scientists had thought that most snow scoured from parts of the continent was simply redeposited elsewhere on the surface. However, the new study shows that in certain parts, called scour zones, some 90 percent—an estimated 80 billion tons per year—is instead being vaporized, and removed altogether. The finding means that scientists must adjust their models of how much mass Antarctica is losing, and how much it might lose in the future. The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

To gather data, researchers camped on East Antarctica’s Recovery Ice Stream (pictured). (Image courtesy: Ted Scambos/NSIDC).

See our report: http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/study-sees-powerful-winds-carving-away-antarctic-snow.html
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Scientists Identify Climate Change "Tipping Points"

An international team of scientists has identified potential ‘tipping points’ where abrupt regional climate shifts could occur due to global warming.

In the new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), the scientists analysed the climate model simulations on which the recent 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports are based.

They found evidence of 41 cases of regional abrupt changes in the ocean, sea ice, snow cover, permafrost and terrestrial biosphere.

“This illustrates the high uncertainty in predicting tipping points,” says lead author Professor Sybren Drijfhout from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton (pictured). “More precisely, our results show that the different state-of-the-art models agree that abrupt changes are likely, but that predicting when and where they will occur remains very difficult. Also, our results show that no safe limit exists and that many abrupt shifts already occur for global warming levels much lower than two degrees,” he adds.

See our report: http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/scientists-identify-climate-tipping-points.html
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Atmosphere Not Oceans Drives AMO Claims Study

A University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric-led study challenges the prevailing wisdom by identifying the atmosphere as the driver of a decades-long climate variation known as the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). The findings offer new insight on the causes and predictability of natural climate variations, which are known to cause wide-ranging global weather impacts, including increased rainfall, drought, and greater hurricane frequency in many parts of the Atlantic basin.

See our report: http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/study-questions-north-atlantic-climate-variability-theories.html
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2015 Antarctic Maximum Sea Ice Extent Breaks Streak Of Record Highs

The sea ice cover of the Southern Ocean reached its yearly maximum extent on 6 October. At 18.83 million square kilometers, the new maximum extent falls roughly in the middle of the record of Antarctic maximum extents compiled during the 37 years of satellite measurements – this year’s maximum extent is both the 22nd lowest and the 16th highest. More remarkably, this year’s maximum is quite a bit smaller than the previous three years, which correspond to the three highest maximum extents in the satellite era, and is also the lowest since 2008.

See our report: http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/antarctic-sea-ice-maximum-sets-no-new-records.html
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