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"The current El Nino weather phenomenon could be one of the strongest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The event occurs when the waters of the Pacific become exceptionally warm and distort weather patterns around the world.
Researchers say parts of the Pacific are likely to be 2C warmer than usual.
The WMO says that this year's event is strengthening and will peak by the end of this year.
The strongest El Nino on record was in 1997-98, but there were events that were significantly above the norm in 1972-73 and again ten years later in 1982-83.
Scientists say that the event now underway is sending sea temperatures in parts of the Pacific to levels not seen since the late 1990s.
In a statement the WMO said that this El Nino was gathering strength.
"Models and expert opinion suggest that surface water temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean are likely to exceed 2C above average, potentially placing this El Nino event among the four strongest events since 1950," it said.
The WMO says that patterns of cloudiness and rainfall near the international dateline developed during the second quarter of this year and have been well maintained".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
This year's El Nino weather phenomenon could be one of the strongest on record according to the World Meteorological Organization.
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Azimuth

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"The levels of ocean acidification predicted for the year 2100 have been shown to cause an irreversible evolutionary change to a bacteria foundational to the ocean's food web".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
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"Droughts and heat waves are happening simultaneously with much greater frequency than in the past, according to research by climate experts".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Droughts and heat waves are happening simultaneously with much greater frequency than in the past, according to research by climate experts.
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"As part of a broad effort to study the environmental and societal effects of climate change, NASA has begun a multi-year field campaign to investigate ecological impacts of the rapidly changing climate in Alaska and northwestern Canada, such as the thawing of permafrost, wildfires and changes to wildlife habitats.
The Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) will bring together on-the-ground research in Alaska and northwestern Canada with data collected by NASA airborne instruments, satellites and other agency programs, including the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), and upcoming Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) and NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) missions.
Over the next decade, scientists from NASA and other public and private organizations will investigate questions about the formidable region that spans about 2.5 million square miles (6.4 million square kilometers).
"Boreal forests and tundra are critical for understanding the ecological impacts of Earth’s changing climate," said Jack Kaye, associate director for research in NASA’s Earth Science Division in Washington. "These ecosystems hold a third of the carbon stored on land — in trees, shrubs and the frozen ground of the permafrost. That’s a lot of potential greenhouse gases in play. We need to better understand these ecosystems, and how a warming climate will affect forests, wildlife and communities both regionally and globally."
ABoVE includes three project phases and two seasons of intensive airborne surveys. The research activities will be coordinated with other U.S. and Canadian partner organizations. The 21 projects selected for the first phase will investigate topics such as the impacts of wildfire on ecosystems and insect outbreaks on forest health".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
NASA has begun a multi-year field campaign to investigate ecological impacts of the rapidly changing climate in Alaska and northwestern Canada.
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"Researchers have long been puzzled by two rapid and widespread changes in the abundance and distribution of North Pacific plankton and fish species that impacted the region's economically important salmon fisheries. Now, researchers suggest that longer, less frequent climate fluctuations may be contributing to abrupt and unexplained ecosystem shifts in the North Pacific".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
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"Ice experts have developed a straightforward new technique for estimating sea ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean, and the new method improves the US Navy's short-term sea ice forecast of ice edge location by almost 40 percent. With shipping on the rise in the Arctic Ocean, improving these short-term forecasts makes navigating in Arctic waters safer".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Ice experts have developed a straightforward new technique for estimating sea ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean, and the new method improves the US Navy's short-term sea ice forecast of ice edge location by almost 40 percent. With shipping on the rise in the Arctic Ocean, improving these short-term forecasts makes navigating in Arctic waters safer.
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"Spanish scientists Bernabé and José Moya couldn't believe their eyes.
More than 20,000 hectares of forest were charred. But in the middle of the devastation, a group of cypresses was still standing tall and green.
When a fire swept through an experimental plot in Andilla, in the Spanish province of Valencia in 2012, it gave researchers the perfect opportunity.
The plot, which was part of CypFire, a project financed by the European Union, was established during the 1980s to test the resistance of more than 50 varieties of Mediterranean cypress to a pathogenic fungus.
After the fire event of 2012, it also provided further anecdotal evidence of the peculiar resilience of the species in the face of fire.
Botanist Bernabé Moya and his brother, environmental engineer José Moya, both from the department of monumental trees in Valencia, had been involved in the project for several years.
"On our way to what we knew would be a Dante-esque scene during that tragic summer, we felt deep sadness at the thought of losing a plot of such value to the conservation of biodiversity," Bernabé Moya told BBC Mundo.
"But we had hope that perhaps some of the cypresses had survived."(When we got there we saw that all the common oaks, holm oaks, pines and junipers had completely burnt. But only 1.27% of the Mediterranean cypresses had ignited)."

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Scientists reveal the secrets behind the trees that can resist wildfires.
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"A well-known period of abrupt climate change 12,000 years ago occurred rapidly in northern latitudes but much more gradually in equatorial regions, a discovery that could prove important for understanding and responding to future climate change, scientists say".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
A well-known period of abrupt climate change 12,000 years ago occurred rapidly in northern latitudes but much more gradually in equatorial regions, a discovery that could prove important for understanding and responding to future climate change, scientists say.
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"Although most of the world's biodiversity is below ground, surprisingly little is known about how it affects ecosystems or how it will be affected by climate change. A new study demonstrates that soil bacteria and the richness of animal species belowground play a key role in regulating a whole suite of ecosystem functions on Earth. The authors call for far more attention to this overlooked world of worms, bugs and bacteria in the soil".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Although most of the world's biodiversity is below ground, surprisingly little is known about how it affects ecosystems or how it will be affected by climate change. A new study demonstrates that soil bacteria and the richness of animal species belowground play a key role in regulating a whole suite of ecosystem functions on Earth. The authors call for far more attention to this overlooked world of worms, bugs and bacteria in the soil.
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"A new study presents a novel approach for identifying vertebrate populations at risk of extinction by estimating the rate of genetic diversity loss, a measurement that could help researchers and conservationists better identify and rank species that are threatened or endangered".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
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"Engineers have developed a new approach, opposite to climate models, to correct inaccuracies using a high-resolution atmospheric model that more precisely resolves clouds and convection and parameterizes the feedback between convection and atmospheric circulation. The new simulation strategy paves the way for better understanding of the water and carbon cycles in the Amazon, enabling researchers to learn more about the role of deforestation and climate change on the forest, authors say".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
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"Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.
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Forests haven't been in a natural state since the megafauna vanished. In Australia the Aboriginal people filled the gap, and when white settlement started it was in open woodland. A decade or so later ithe uncultivated parts were dense bush just waiting for a dry summer and a lightning strike.
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Scientists and engineers helping save the planet.
Introduction
The Azimuth Project is an international collaboration to create a focal point for scientists and engineers interested in saving the planet. Our goal is to make clearly presented, accurate information on the relevant issues easy to find, and to help people work together on our common problems.  We need your help! 

The Azimuth Project includes a wiki, a blog, and a discussion forum

This Azimuth page here on Google+ lets you keep track of news related to energy, the environment and sustainability.  Posts on this page are written by Rasha Kamel, John Baez, Jim Stuttard, Frederik De Roo and David Tanzer.  The posts reflect the individual authors views and taste; we don't agree about everything!