The Beacon: elly's blog

Elly's Hot Topics: the Methane Menace

You probably know methane as the stinky greenhouse gas. It's potent, long-lived, and is released from places like agricultural lands and wetlands. But a new study published in Nature discusses how the gas may also be released from destabilized clathrates, or forms of methane that are stabilized beneath ice sheets.


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Elly's Hot Topics: An Arctic Compromise

The New York Times reports that diplomats from the United States, Canada, Russia, Norway, and Denmark recently came to agreements about the possibility that global warming will make Arctic waters more accessible to shipping fleets and energy extractors.


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Elly's Hot Topics: Antarctic DDT, Unthawed

And you thought DDT was a thing of the past...

Although worldwide use of DDT has decreased from 40,000 tons per year in 1980 to 1,000 tons per year today, with the U.S. banning most uses in 1972, DDT is still showing up in the Antarctic. Spurred by global warming, previously frozen insecticide particles are being released through glacier meltdown.


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Elly's Hot Topics: Acidification or Science Fiction?

Ocean water dissolving the shells of marine life? Sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie, but for many shelled marine organisms it's a reality due to anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide. With the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at its highest point in the last 650,000 years, the oceans are becoming more acidic as the water turns carbon dioxide into carbonic acid.


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One Senator's Push for Research on Acidification

Coral

Continued carbon emissions are increasing the acidity of the oceans; in fact, approximately a third of anthropogenic carbon emissions are absorbed by the oceans each year. Scientists worry that not enough research has been done on the possible effects that ocean acidification will have on marine wildlife, ecosystems and food webs.


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Sailing into the Future

The global shipping fleet is a major emitter of carbon dioxide and other global


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Polar Bears in Peril

A new series of reports from USGS suggest that two thirds of the world's polar bear population could be gone within 50 years. As the sea ice continues to recede with warming temperatures the polar bears will find it increasingly difficult to hunt.

Some commentators have suggested that this report is conservative and that Arctic sea ice could be a thing of the past by 2030, suggesting that polar bear losses could happen much earlier than 2050. You can read the press release from USGS here.




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Global Warming's First Victim

Scientists recently declared that the first victim to become extinct due to climate change has finally succumbed.

The purple or banded snail (Rachistia aldabrae) living on an island in the Seychelles has not been seen, despite extensive surveys, since the 1990s.

The snail was unable to tolerate changes in its environment because of climate change. Unfortunately, this will not be a one-off event; scientists have suggested that over a quarter of all species could be lost due to climate change.

You can read more about the extinction of the purple snail at Mongabay or read the scientific article in Biology Letters.





-- Ellycia is the climate change science fellow at Oceana.


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