Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NOAA Scientists to Search Tropical Skies for Answers on Climate Change, Ozone Loss

From this week's news at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

"Scientists from NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab will be among 400 researchers in Costa Rica this summer to probe one of the most complex and least observed regions of Earth’s atmosphere during the rainy season. Based in San Jose, Costa Rica, the NASA-led field study will shed light on key processes related to climate change, the stratospheric ozone layer, and global chemistry. The study runs from July 2 through August 15.

"ESRL’s David Fahey and colleagues from NOAA and the University of Colorado will fly instruments aboard NASA’s high-altitude WB-57 aircraft to gather data on black carbon particles [produced by fossil fuel burning], ozone, water vapor and particle composition, as well as air pressure and temperature.

"By absorbing sunlight and heating the air, black carbon can change atmospheric circulation and precipitation, but the processes involved are unclear. For example, how black carbon influences clouds and how clouds remove it from the atmosphere remain an unsolved puzzle. Scientists know so little about black carbon that any direct observations are important, Fahey said." [Read more]

While at the NOAA Web site, slip on over to NOAA's Central Library. There you will find a treasure trove of digital images, including scanned pages from historical and rare monographs, charts and maps, and access to the NOAA Photo Library.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On the new book shelf: The Suicidal Planet

The Suicidal Planet: How to Prevent Global Climate Catastrophe, is one of three climate-related books received today. Authored by Mayer Hillman with Tina Fawcett and Sudhir Chella Rajan, it has been reviewed in many sources [summary at BookBrowse].

Wisconsin Public Radio
hosted an interview with one of the co-authors on Monday, April 23, 2007, on the radio program At Issue with Ben Merens. In the interview, Sudhir Chella Rajan "gives an overview of global warming, and an optimistic but practical plan for avoiding the worst of the damage". Rajan is a senior fellow at the Tellus Institute in Boston where he heads the Global Politics and Institutions program.

Other climate studies on the new book shelf are:
QC981.8.C5 P58 2005.
Climate change : turning up the heat / A. Barrie Pittock.
London ; Sterling, VA : Earthscan, c2005.

QC981.8.G56 A73 2007.
Global warming : understanding the forecast / David Archer.
Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., c2007.

Friday, June 15, 2007

DNA Study Forces New Thinking on What It Means to Be a Gene

From Science News of the Week

Elizabeth Pennisi

"According to a painstaking new analysis of 1% of the human genome, genes can be sprawling, with far-flung protein-coding and regulatory regions that overlap with other genes.

"As part of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project, 35 research teams have analyzed 44 regions of the human genome covering 30 million bases and figured out how each base contributes to overall genome function. The results, compiled in a paper in the 14 June issue of Nature and 28 papers in the June issue of Genome Research, provide a litany of new insights and drive home how complex our genetic code really is. For example, protein-coding DNA makes up barely 2% of the overall genome, yet 80% of the bases studied showed signs of being expressed, says Ewan Birney of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Hinxton, U.K., who led the ENCODE analysis."

Read the EBI Press Release (pdf)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

AAPG Proposed Global Climate Change Statement

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) members are currently discussing the association's proposed Global Climate Change Statement, which offers a perspective "embodied our commitment to a continued level of energy security that will ensure we have the economic capability required to address the broad range of issues facing society." The proposed statement is accessible to the public, but the discussion is open to AAPG members only.

Geotimes, from the American Geological Institute, will be "Plunging into the Debate on Climate Change" in its Geologic Column (coming later this month). Check in there to read Fred Schwab's call for geologists "to lead the charge in educating the public and taking action to help our warming world."