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When More Is More

In science, less isn’t more; more is more. That basic premise is supported by a recent report from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Separating signal and noise in climate warming.  Earth’s overall temperature is affected by natural processes, such as La Niña and El Niño, as well as by human factors. From 1999 to 2008, Earth’s […]

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Transpire Locally, Cool Globally

As plants grow, they transpire, releasing water into the atmosphere.  During the summer in a city, trees help to cool the immediate surroundings through transpiration. New research from Carnegie’s Global Ecology department, published last month in Environmental Research Letters, concludes that transpiration has a global effect as well. How does this happen?  Water vapor is […]

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Irrigation and Climate Change

What does irrigation have to do with climate change?  Possibly a lot. According to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, irrigation has increased agricultural productivity by an amount roughly equivalent to the entire agricultural output of the United States.  That’s a lot of increased productivity! All of those growing plants take up more […]

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Ocean Currents–The Big Unknowns

Scientists have known for a long time that ocean currents affect climate.  The big unanswered question is how ocean currents change during the periods of greatest change–from ice ages to periods of global warming. During the Eocene period, 38 million years ago, the Antarctic had a temperate climate.  What is now the midwest United States […]

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Trees to the (partial) rescue!

The Earth is getting warmer.  In warmer climes, decomposition occurs more quickly.  This releases more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, leading to further warming.  But it needn’t get completely out of control–trees (and other plants) can come to the rescue! A recent study in a central Massachusetts forest has shown that increased temperatures do indeed […]

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Going up?

A new study from the University of Washington suggests that Earth’s temperature will keep increasing, even if all greenhouse gas emissions were stopped right now. Why?  Because greenhouse gases will last longer in the atmosphere than particulate matter (aerosols) that reflect the sun’s light.  So, the solar radiation coming in will increase and the heat […]

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