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2012 SkS Bi-Weekly News Roundup #8

Posted on 10 December 2012 by John Hartz

This is a biweekly roundup of selected news articles and blog posts about climate change and its impacts. Readers are encouraged to comment on the posted articles and to provide links to other articles of importance.

2010 Amazon Megadrought

A megadrought that struck the Amazon in 2010 devastated millions of hectares of the rainforest, new data presented here suggest. The results shed new light on a scientific debate over the effects of such recent climatic events.

Widespread Devastation Found in 2010 Amazon Megadrought by Eli Kintisch, Science, Dec 7, 2012

Arctic Assessment Report

The Arctic's sea ice is shrinking, Greenland's ice cover is melting faster, areas of once-frozen tundra in Alaska are alive with plant growth, and wildfires during Southern summer heat waves are carrying soot to darken northern snowfields and speed the melting.

Arctic climate change's un-glacial pace by David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 5, 2012

Greenland Ice Melt

Smoke from Arctic wildfires may have contributed to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet during the 2012 melt season, according to new research to be presented at a scientific conference in San Francisco on Friday. The research, led by Jason Box of Ohio State University, provides the first satellite-based evidence that smoke from Arctic wildfires is reaching the Greenland ice sheet, where it acts as an amplifier of the warming already occurring from manmade emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

Arctic Wildfires Speed Melting of Greenland Ice, Study by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, Dec 7, 2012

IPCC: Next Round of Model Forecasts

The next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecasts won't be released until late 2013. But insiders say that thanks to faster computers and better models, the report will offer more precise predictions and adjust anticipated changes in sea levels and precipitation.

Better Science to Hone Climate Change Warnings by Olaf Stampf, Spiegel Online International, Dec 7, 2012

Melting Arctic Permafrost

Scientists are expressing fresh concerns about the carbon locked in the Arctic's vast expanse of frozen soil. New field studies, presented here this week at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, quantify the amount of soil carbon at 1.9 trillion metric tons, suggesting that previous estimates underestimated the climate risk if this carbon is liberated. Meanwhile, a new analysis of laboratory experiments that simulate carbon release by thawed soil is bolstering worries that continued carbon emissions could unleash a massive Arctic carbon wallop.

Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May Be Bigger Than Thought by Eli Kintisch, Science, Dec 7, 2012

Policies: US

"Our democracy has been hacked," Gore said. "And when the large part of polluters and their ideological allies tell the members of Congress to jump, they do say, 'how high?' And we need leadership in the executive branch as well."

Gore raps Obama on climate change in post-Sandy speech by Edith Honan and Hilary Russ, Reuters, Dec 6, 2012

UN Climate Cference: Ambiguous Agreement

The annual United Nations climate change negotiations concluded here late Saturday after the customary all-night negotiating session and recriminations over who must bear the costs and burdens of a warming planet.

Delegates from more than 190 nations agreed to extend the increasingly ineffective Kyoto Protocol a few years and to commit to more ambitious — but unspecified — actions to reduce emissions of climate-altering gases.

Wealthy nations put off for a year resolution of the dispute over providing billions of dollars in aid to countries most heavily affected by climate change. Industrial nations have pledged to secure $100 billion a year by 2020 in public and private financing to help poor countries cope with climate change, but have been vague about what they plan to do before then.

Climate Talks Yield Commitment to Ambitious, but Unclear, Actions by John Broder, New York Times, Dec 8, 2012

UN Climate Conference: Endless Treadmill

Global climate negotiations in Doha are nearing their conclusion and the talks are, as ever, beset by myriad divisions between rich nations and poor ones, between established economies and up-and-comers, and between, well, the United States and just about everyone else.

Climate Talks: Endless Treadmill, Without The Health Benefits by Tom Zeller Jr, the Huffington Post, Dec 6, 2012 

UN Climate Conference: Food Security

Food prices will soar and hundreds of millions will starve without urgent action to make major cuts in fossil fuel emissions. That is what is at stake here on the last day of the U.N. climate talks known as COP 18, scientists and activists say.

A Hotter World Is a Hungry World by Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service (IPS), Dec 7, 3012

UN Climate Conference: Struggle Over Aid 

DOHA, Qatar — The United Nations climate conference here has settled into its typical doldrums, with most major questions unresolved as a Friday evening deadline for concluding the talks approaches. One of the thorniest issues is money, which has often bedeviled these affairs.

At Climate Talks, a Struggle Over Aid for Poorer Nations by John Broder, New York Times, Dec 5, 2012

Undersea Methane Hydrate Deposits

A 'test case' for how undersea deposits of methane — a greenhouse gas locked in sediments — might respond to climate change has been uncovered in the Arctic Circle.

Gas hydrates in Arctic are shallowest yet found by Zoë Corbyn, Nature, Dec 7, 2012

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