KEEP THE OIL IN THE GROUND IN THE AMAZON

To national, local, and international leaders:

The Amazon rainforest is critically important to the survival of our planet and the indigenous peoples that call it home. The International Energy Agency is unequivocal: two-thirds of fossil fuels need to be kept in the ground to avoid climate disaster. Given the science mandate to keep oil in the ground and the demands of our indigenous allies, the Amazon Basin is the perfect place to start.

Leave the oil in the ground!

Read the full text of the petition here.

(via: Amazon Watch)

Giant Icebergs Used to Ram Up Against Florida
21,000 years ago, icebergs carved up the ocean floor off the Miami coast
by Rachel Nuwer

Gaze out to sea from Florida’s beaches circa 21,000 years ago, and you would have spotted not paragliders and sailboats on the horizon but icebergs. According to a new study, icebergs from the Hudson Bay’s Laurentide ice sheet—a massive sheet of ice that all but covered Canada—broke free and drifted down the eastern coast of the landmass that would one day become America. 
Sometimes those icebergs would make it as far south as Miami and the Bahamas. Those giant hunks of ice—some of them up to 1,000 feet thick—left deep gouges along the Florida coast that can still be measured today...
(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)
image by Matthias Kulka/Corbis

Giant Icebergs Used to Ram Up Against Florida

21,000 years ago, icebergs carved up the ocean floor off the Miami coast

by Rachel Nuwer

Gaze out to sea from Florida’s beaches circa 21,000 years ago, and you would have spotted not paragliders and sailboats on the horizon but icebergs. According to a new study, icebergs from the Hudson Bay’s Laurentide ice sheet—a massive sheet of ice that all but covered Canada—broke free and drifted down the eastern coast of the landmass that would one day become America. 

Sometimes those icebergs would make it as far south as Miami and the Bahamas. Those giant hunks of ice—some of them up to 1,000 feet thick—left deep gouges along the Florida coast that can still be measured today...

(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)

image by Matthias Kulka/Corbis

Study links Greenland ice sheet collapse, sea level rise 400,000 years ago

A study, published last June - 2014, suggests that a warming period more than 400,000 years ago pushed the Greenland ice sheet past its stability threshold, resulting in a nearly complete deglaciation of southern Greenland and raising global sea levels some 4-6 meters.

The study is one of the first to zero in on how the vast Greenland ice sheet responded to warmer temperatures during that period, which were caused by changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Pictured here, a research team is hiking to sample the Greenland ice-sheet margin in south Greenland…

(read more: Oregon State University)

Image credit: Kelsey Winsor, courtesy OSU
Study links Greenland ice sheet collapse, sea level rise 400,000 years ago
A study, published last June - 2014, suggests that a warming period more than 400,000 years ago pushed the Greenland ice sheet past its stability threshold, resulting in a nearly complete deglaciation of southern Greenland and raising global sea levels some 4-6 meters.
The study is one of the first to zero in on how the vast Greenland ice sheet responded to warmer temperatures during that period, which were caused by changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun.
Pictured here, a research team is hiking to sample the Greenland ice-sheet margin in south Greenland…
(read more: Oregon State University)
Image credit: Kelsey Winsor, courtesy OSU
Marine organisms produce over half of the oxygen that land animals need to breathe.
Humans and almost all other animals depend on oxygen in the atmosphere or water to respire—that is, to produce energy at the cellular level necessary for survival. Most sea animals extract oxygen directly from ocean water, while land animals breathe air from Earth’s atmosphere, which consists of about 21 percent pure oxygen.
Oxygen has not always been a given element in the air; in fact, its presence is a relatively recent development in Earth’s history. Until around 600 million years ago, our atmosphere was composed of less than five percent oxygen, instead being mainly a nitrogen and carbon dioxide mixture dating back to Earth’s formative volcanic activity over four billion years ago.
Fortunately for us, organisms evolved that could use carbon dioxide, along with solar radiation, to produce metabolic energy and oxygen—a process called photosynthesis. Whlie we may think of photosynthesis as the life process of land plants, algae and a variety of other microscopic organisms called phytoplankton had been using photosynthesis long before terrestrial plants appeared…
(read more: NOAA Ocean Explorer)
Image courtesy of the NOAA MESA Project

Marine organisms produce over half of the oxygen that land animals need to breathe.

Humans and almost all other animals depend on oxygen in the atmosphere or water to respire—that is, to produce energy at the cellular level necessary for survival. Most sea animals extract oxygen directly from ocean water, while land animals breathe air from Earth’s atmosphere, which consists of about 21 percent pure oxygen.

Oxygen has not always been a given element in the air; in fact, its presence is a relatively recent development in Earth’s history. Until around 600 million years ago, our atmosphere was composed of less than five percent oxygen, instead being mainly a nitrogen and carbon dioxide mixture dating back to Earth’s formative volcanic activity over four billion years ago.

Fortunately for us, organisms evolved that could use carbon dioxide, along with solar radiation, to produce metabolic energy and oxygen—a process called photosynthesis. Whlie we may think of photosynthesis as the life process of land plants, algae and a variety of other microscopic organisms called phytoplankton had been using photosynthesis long before terrestrial plants appeared…

(read more: NOAA Ocean Explorer)

Image courtesy of the NOAA MESA Project

Genghis Khan, and his army of men on horseback, benefitted from boom in grasslands.

Mongolia, with the lowest population density of any country in the world—about 2 people per square kilometer—would appear an unlikely birthplace for the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world.
Today’s inhabitants (which number fewer than three million in a country the size of California, Texas, Montana and West Virginia combined) are largely dependent on livestock production for their livelihoods. Much of the population practices a form of nomadic pastoralism in which herders follow their animals…
Consensus: 97% of climate scientists agree
Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities (1), and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.
For a list of 18 American agencies making statements on this…
(read more: NASA - Global Climate Science)
image: Temperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record.

Consensus: 97% of climate scientists agree

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities (1), and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.

For a list of 18 American agencies making statements on this…

(read more: NASA - Global Climate Science)

image: Temperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record.

An Alternative Route to Oxygen in Space?
Researchers have figured out a way to break a carbon dioxide molecule with high-energy UV light and get molecular oxygen. Their results identify an unexpected pathway to oxygen which is reminiscent of the “Great Oxidation Event” that turned Earth into a living planet, and could help us understand how Earth’s atmosphere — and other planetary atmospheres — formed.
read the paper: http://scim.ag/1pQndPG 
image: NASA/Reto Stöckli

An Alternative Route to Oxygen in Space?

Researchers have figured out a way to break a carbon dioxide molecule with high-energy UV light and get molecular oxygen. Their results identify an unexpected pathway to oxygen which is reminiscent of the “Great Oxidation Event” that turned Earth into a living planet, and could help us understand how Earth’s atmosphere — and other planetary atmospheres — formed.

read the paper: http://scim.ag/1pQndPG

image: NASA/Reto Stöckli

Audubon Society of Portland, OR
Research from The National Audubon Society shows northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus) are one of 189 Oregon bird species likely to be impacted by climate change in the next century, but there’s still time to make a difference for these raptors. 
Create backyard habitat, write to elected officials, reduce your footprint, get involved in climate activism, and more: here. 
Absurdly cute photo by Rhett Wilkins.

Audubon Society of Portland, OR

Research from The National Audubon Society shows northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus) are one of 189 Oregon bird species likely to be impacted by climate change in the next century, but there’s still time to make a difference for these raptors.

Create backyard habitat, write to elected officials, reduce your footprint, get involved in climate activism, and more: here.

Absurdly cute photo by Rhett Wilkins.

In Alaska, Thousands of Walruses Take to Land

by Jeffrey DelViscio

On Sept. 27, a pilot spotted a semicircular mass of moving bodies near Point Lay, Alaska. Pacific walruses, an estimated 35,000 of them, had pulled up tusk to tail on the beach. These animals are social and like to come together in large numbers for protection and proximity. But scientists who study them are worried by gatherings like these because land is not the walrus’s preferred place to rest.

Sea ice is critical for all parts of the walrus life cycle. Adults dive and eat on the icy platforms. Females give birth and raise their pups there. On the ice, walruses can avoid predators and exhaustion; they are close to food and farther from harm.

As of today, according to daily sea ice tracking by the United States Geological Survey, walruses’ ice havens are gone. “There’s no ice in the Chukchi Sea — it’s entirely free,” said Anthony Fischbach, a wildlife biologist at the geological survey’s Alaska walrus research program. “It’s really stunning.”…

(read more: NY Times)

photo: Corey Accardo/NOAA, Rebecca Shea/NOAA, USGS

Four Decades of Sea Ice From Space:  A Decline

by Maria-José Viñas,
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

By the end of last century, scientists had painstakingly developed and tested the remote sensing techniques that allowed them to monitor sea ice from space.

In the 1980s, the scientific community started becoming more interested in watching for signs of climate change in various Earth systems — but through that decade, sea ice showed very little in the way of clear-cut trends. The drastic changes of the past 15 years weren’t even imagined back then.

“It was like watching paint dry,” said Jay Zwally, a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., one of a handful of scientists who began in the early 1970s intensively working with satellite imagery to study sea ice.

Still, the new data allowed researchers to start analyzing the long-term behavior of the Arctic Ocean’s icy cap…

(read more and see video: Climate.NASA.gov)

images: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Tomb goods and historical texts show how a drying climate and an expanding human population took their toll on the region’s wildlife

Results, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer an unprecedented glimpse into the ways population growth and climate change can influence an ecosystem over millennia—perhaps giving scientists crucial insight into the long-term impacts of modern human activities...