Oceans

Drought in East Africa likely to Persist as Global Temperatures Continue to Rise

A new study finds that decreased rainfall in eastern Africa is linked to climate change. Increased frequency of drought will risk food shortages for the approximately 17.5 million people living in the Greater Horn of Africa—Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Pacific Walrus "warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act"

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a decision today that the Pacific walrus "warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act," noting that it "is primarily threatened by the loss of sea ice in its arctic habitat due to climate change."  However, the agency said that "an official rulemaking to propose that protection is currently precluded by the need to address other higher priority species."

Rising ocean temperatures and acidity may prove a deadly one-two punch for the world’s corals

A recent experiment by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama has revealed just how rising atmospheric carbon dioxide will deliver a one-two punch to coral reefs in coming decades, potentially knocking them out by preventing growth in juvenile corals.

Polar Bear Population in Canada's Western Hudson Bay Unlikely to Survive Climate Disruption

Declining sea ice in Canada's Western Hudson Bay already has been linked to a decline in the area's polar bear population.  Today, researchers report  that as the ice-free period in the region becomes longer, fewer females will successfully reproduce and those that do will have smaller litters. The authors say their findings "serve as another indicator that the western Hudson Bay population will probably not remain viable under predicted climatic conditions."

Arctic Sea Ice is Among World's Most Threatened Ecosystems

According to a new report, the top ten ecosystems most threatened by climate change include Arctic sea ice with its many imperiled species.  To address the threat, the report says we must sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions and "increase habitat and species resilience" by minimizing other major stresses to the ecosystem.  

Polar Bears to Remain as Threatened Species

The Obama Administration has declined to upgrade the polar bear’s threatened species status, listed under the Endangered Species Act, to endangered. Geoff York, WWF polar bear scientist, discusses the growing climate change threat to polar bears.

NASA Reports that November is Warmest on Record

NASA reported today (10 Dec 2010) that global surface temperatures were the highest ever recorded for the month, far surpassing the previous record -- set just last year.  The warmth was concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere, which also experienced the warmest November on record.

Arctic Sees Second Lowest November Sea Ice Extent on Record, Favoring another Cold Season of Extremes in Mid-Latitudes

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports today (6 December 2010) that November Arctic sea ice extent was the second lowest on record. Exposed ocean waters that normally are ice-covered in parts of the Arctic are pumping heat into the region's atmosphere, altering atmospheric circulation, and contributing to extreme weather conditions that extend into mid-latitudes.

Citing Threat of Climate Change, U.S. Designates Nearly 187,000 Square Miles as "Critical Habitat" for Polar Bears

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today (24 November 2010) designated nearly 485,000 sq km (over 187,000 sq mi) as critical habitat for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act.  Noting that "the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of its sea ice habitat caused by human-induced climate change," Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, said that "we will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species."

Another Extreme Drought Hits the Amazon and Raises Climate Change Concerns

The Amazon region is experiencing the third extreme drought in a dozen years -- and it may turn out to be the worst on record. The droughts coupled with recent research findings, suggest that rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will rapidly increase the frequency and severity of droughts in the region. The implications for people,  biodiversity and climate are ominous.

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