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Topic: climate change

NASA Satellite Data reveals Climate Change effect on Fires

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Hot and dry. NASA says these are the watchwords for large fires. While every fire needs a spark to ignite and fuel to burn, it’s the hot and dry conditions in the atmosphere that determine the likelihood of a fire starting, its intensity and the speed at which it spreads. Over the past several decades, as the world has increasingly warmed, so has its potential to burn.

Since 1880, the world has warmed by 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit, with the five warmest years on record occurring in the last five years. Since the 1980s, the wildfire season has lengthened across a quarter of the world’s vegetated surface, and in some places like California, fire has become nearly a year-round risk.

Fires are a natural part of the ecosystem in North American forests. However, their size and intensity is shaped by climate. (NASA)

Fires are a natural part of the ecosystem in North American forests. However, their size and intensity is shaped by climate. (NASA)

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American Heart Association says Climate Change may increase Congenital Heart Defects

 

Journal of the American Heart Association Report

American Heart AssociationDallas, TX – Rising temperatures stemming from global climate change may increase the number of infants born with congenital heart defects (CHD) in the United States over the next two decades and may result in as many as 7,000 additional cases over an 11 year-period in eight representative states (Arkansas, Texas, California, Iowa, North Caroline, Georgia, New York and Utah), according to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The greatest percentage increases in the number of congenital heart defects are predicted in the Midwest, followed by the Northeast and the South. (American Heart Association)

The greatest percentage increases in the number of congenital heart defects are predicted in the Midwest, followed by the Northeast and the South. (American Heart Association)

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NASA research shows Arctic Permafrost thawing could boost of Methane released into Atmosphere

 

Written by Ellen Gray
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – New NASA-funded research has discovered that Arctic permafrost’s expected gradual thawing and the associated release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere may actually be sped up by instances of a relatively little known process called abrupt thawing. Abrupt thawing takes place under a certain type of Arctic lake, known as a thermokarst lake that forms as permafrost thaws.

The impact on the climate may mean an influx of permafrost-derived methane into the atmosphere in the mid-21st century, which is not currently accounted for in climate projections.

Methane bubbles up from the thawed permafrost at the bottom of the thermokarst lake through the ice at its surface. (Katey Walter Anthony/ University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Methane bubbles up from the thawed permafrost at the bottom of the thermokarst lake through the ice at its surface. (Katey Walter Anthony/ University of Alaska Fairbanks)

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NASA studies changes in Cloud Heights

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A new analysis of 15 years of NASA satellite cloud measurements finds that clouds worldwide show no definitive trend during this period toward decreasing or increasing in height. The new study updates an earlier analysis of the first 10 years of the same data that suggested cloud heights might be getting lower.

Clouds are both Earth’s cooling sunshade and its insulating blanket. Currently their cooling effect prevails globally. But as Earth warms, the characteristics of clouds over different global regions — their thickness, brightness and height — are expected to change in ways that scientists don’t fully understand.

Climate change may eventually change global cloud heights, but scientists need a longer data set to know whether that's happening already. (NASA)

Climate change may eventually change global cloud heights, but scientists need a longer data set to know whether that’s happening already. (NASA)

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NASA reports new study sheds light on slowdown of Global Warming

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new multi-institutional study of the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature warming trend observed between 1998 and 2013 concludes the phenomenon represented a redistribution of energy within the Earth system, with Earth’s ocean absorbing the extra heat.

The phenomenon was referred to by some as the “global warming hiatus.” Global average surface temperature, measured by satellites and direct observations, is considered a key indicator of climate change.

A new multi-institutional study of the latest research into the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature increase seen between 1998 and 2013 concludes it represented a redistribution of heat/energy within the oceans. (Flickr user Brian Richardson, CC by 2.0)

A new multi-institutional study of the latest research into the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature increase seen between 1998 and 2013 concludes it represented a redistribution of heat/energy within the oceans. (Flickr user Brian Richardson, CC by 2.0)

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NASA reports Jason-3 satellite set to launch in July

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – You can’t predict the outcome of a marathon from the runners’ times in the first few miles. You’ve got to see the whole race. Global climate change is like that: You can’t understand it if all you have is a few years of data from a few locations. That’s one reason that a fourth-generation satellite launching this summer is something to get excited about.

Jason-3, a mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that is currently scheduled to launch on July 22nd, is the latest in a series of U.S.-European satellite missions that have been measuring the height of the ocean surface for 23 years.

Artist's rendering of Jason-3. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of Jason-3. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA uses Supercomputer to create Future Climate projections for the United States

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – Global models of the climate system are now the foundation for many important climate studies, but they typically show climate changes at very large geographic scales on the order of 100 to 250 kilometers. Some data sets have scaled that down to about 10 kilometers, but even these make it difficult to analyze climate change impacts on a local or regional scale.

Using previously published large-scale climate model projections, a team of scientists from NASA, the Climate Analytics Group, Palo Alto, CA, a non-profit that provides climate data services, and California State University, Monterey Bay, has released monthly climate projections for the coterminous United States at a scale of one half mile (800 meters), or approximately the size of a neighborhood.

Top figure shows the average temperatures for springtime in 1950 across the United States, compared to the lower figure's projected average temperatures for the same season in 2099. Area in black boxes are enlarged below. (NASA)

Top figure shows the average temperatures for springtime in 1950 across the United States, compared to the lower figure’s projected average temperatures for the same season in 2099. Area in black boxes are enlarged below. (NASA)

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NASA Scientists say Arctic may hold a key to Earth’s climate future

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Flying low and slow above the wild, pristine terrain of Alaska’s North Slope in a specially instrumented NASA plane, research scientist Charles Miller of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, surveys the endless whiteness of tundra and frozen permafrost below.

On the horizon, a long, dark line appears. The plane draws nearer, and the mysterious object reveals itself to be a massive herd of migrating caribou, stretching for miles. It’s a sight Miller won’t soon forget.

Permafrost zones occupy nearly a quarter of the exposed land area of the Northern Hemisphere. NASA's Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment is probing deep into the frozen lands above the Arctic Circle in Alaska to measure emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane from thawing permafrost - signals that may hold a key to Earth's climate future. (Image credit: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal)

Permafrost zones occupy nearly a quarter of the exposed land area of the Northern Hemisphere. NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment is probing deep into the frozen lands above the Arctic Circle in Alaska to measure emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane from thawing permafrost – signals that may hold a key to Earth’s climate future. (Image credit: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal)

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NASA Study reveals degradation of Amazon Forest due to Climate Change

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study.

These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.

The megadrought in the Amazon rainforest during the summer of 2005 caused widespread damage and die-offs to trees, as depicted in this photo taken in Western Amazonia in Brazil. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The megadrought in the Amazon rainforest during the summer of 2005 caused widespread damage and die-offs to trees, as depicted in this photo taken in Western Amazonia in Brazil. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA uses direct Satellite Observations to examine Ice Increases in the Antarctic Sea

 

Written by Alan Buis and Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA and British Antarctic Survey scientists have reported the first direct evidence that marked changes to Antarctic sea ice drift caused by changing winds are responsible for observed increases in Antarctic sea ice cover in the past two decades.

The results help explain why, unlike the dramatic sea ice losses being reported in the Arctic, Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change.

View of Sheldon Glacier with Mount Barre in the background, seen from Ryder Bay near Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island, Antarctica. A new NASA/British Antarctic Survey study examines why Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change over the past two decades.

View of Sheldon Glacier with Mount Barre in the background, seen from Ryder Bay near Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island, Antarctica. A new NASA/British Antarctic Survey study examines why Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change over the past two decades.

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