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Tag archives for El Niño

Strong El Niño Could Mean Winter Tornadoes in South

One of the strongest El Niños on record could increase the chance of winter tornadoes forming in parts of the South, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. Unseasonably warm and moist conditions during the winter can set the stage for tornado formation, and those conditions can be expected during the winter…

Sixty Years of Data Show Waves are Getting Stronger, Threatening Coastlines and Infrastructure

By The Nature Conservancy’s Dr. Borja G. Reguero and Dr. Michael W. Beck Climate change is modifying the way our oceans work in many different ways, including ocean acidification and water warming. But where people really start to pay attention is where humans and oceans meet: the coast. On the coast, most people have heard…

El Niño Winter: Warm and Dry in the North, Cold and Wet in the South

The winter of 2015-16 could be a dry one in the northern Rocky Mountains, around the Great Lakes, and in Alaska and Hawaii, while Southern California and southern states from Arizona to Florida might be in for an unusually wet winter. Forecasters for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration based that prediction Thursday on a very…

CSU Forecasters Expect Below-Average Hurricane Season

Meteorologists at Colorado State University think cooler ocean waters and the formation of a phenomenon known as El Niño will make the 2015 hurricane season much quieter than usual. The CSU preseason forecast released today predicts seven named tropical storms will form in the Atlantic Basin — which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean…

U.S.-India Climate Agreement Less Substantive Than U.S.-China Climate Deal

The U.S.-India climate agreement announced January 25 creates a new agreement between the second- and third-largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world but does not have the strength of the U.S.-China climate deal reached last year. Rather than committing India to cap its emissions, the U.S.-India deal called for “enhancing bilateral climate change cooperation”…

On Wildlife Conservation Day, Protect Climate Refuges to Help Corals

By Emily Darling

Protected areas are a hallmark strategy in marine conservation. Yet when they were first created, a growing lethal threat had not yet fully revealed itself. Warming, acidifying, and rising seas have devastated the world’s sensitive coral reefs, widely regarded as “ground zero” for climate change. El Niños and marine heat waves can bleach and destroy vast areas of healthy, biodiverse reefs even where they occur within “protected” parks. If the global impacts of climate change do not stop at park boundaries, what can scientists do? One strategy is to identify and protect climate refuges – habitats with more stable environments where species can survive warming temperatures.

Conservationists Playing with Fire

By Julie Kunen

For millennia, tropical civilizations cultivated their crops through a practice known as slash and burn agriculture. In this practice, vegetation is cut down and burned to clear land and improve the soil with the resulting organic matter and nutrients. Fire also kills or drives away pests and encourages the regeneration of grasses in natural pastures. When used over extensive areas in a cycle of planted and fallowed fields, the practice is sustainable. Today, many agricultural communities that lack access to machinery and chemical inputs depend upon fire for their livelihoods, using it to clear and maintain the fertility of agricultural lands and to delimit property boundaries. Yet, fire is also a great danger to humans and there are many risks associated with the use of fire as a land management tool.

Ross Island 2014: Journey’s End

Ken Sims’ expedition to Ross Island in Antarctica is wrapping up. Having narrowly obtained the samples he needed, Ken reflects on the dangers endured in this remote ice-desert for the sake of science and exploration.

The Sea Turtle and the Captain

Captain Robert Thomas was fishing for Chinook salmon in the San Francisco Bay. His charter sport fishing boat, the Salty Lady, was near Buoy 1, just outside of the Golden Gate Bridge when they accidentally foul-hooked an endangered Pacific green sea turtle. Thomas has been fishing these waters for decades and though he has seen…

Dead and Lost Boobies: Harbingers of a Growing El Niño?

Starving seabirds far from home may point to a brewing El Nino in the Pacific.

After Sandy: A winter without El Nino

El Niño patterns typically bring stormy weather to the southern U.S. and drought to places like Australia. But the National Weather Service has cancelled its El Niño watch. It just fizzled out, says Mark Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. This is unprecedented…

Climate Certainties, Climate Confusion: Kim Cobb at PopTech

Scholars need to do a better job of distinguishing between what’s known (that fossil fuel use warms the planet) and what we’re still learning (what that means in terms of droughts, monsoons, big storms, and other consequences), says climate scientist Kim Cobb. By Ford Cochran Georgia Tech geochemist and climate scientist Kim Cobb is one…