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Part 13: Holocene and Anthropocene






By Luisa Cristini,  PhD, University of Hawaii at Manoa [Note from the editor: This is the thirteenth in a series of blog entries that will focus on introductory topics in climate dynamics and modeling, and will serve to provide insight into the current understanding of the science.] In addition to the low frequency variability of [...]

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Tree Rings: A Type of Weather Data






By Penny Paugh Trees grow on every continent except Antarctica, and the rings they contain embody a record of climate change going back thousands of years.  Each ring represents a single year’s growth, so not only can a ring count tell us how old a tree is, but they can also help reconstruct climatic history [...]

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The Economic Impact of Extreme Weather in the US






A team of social scientists and economists from Colorado and California recently completed a study on the United States economy’s sensitivity to weather variability: extreme heat, extreme cold, droughts, and floods. This study marked the first time that US economic susceptibility to extreme weather had been explicitly quantified. Seventy years of atmospheric data were used [...]

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The UK Cuts Antarctic Research






By Penny Paugh The British polar research community is at risk. The UK government plans massive cuts, more than 25 percent, to the budget of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The cuts are ordered as a means to reduce the UK’s national deficit. BAS is the leading UK polar research body and one of the [...]

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Galápagos: A Living Ecological Lab






By Penny Paugh The Galápagos Islands off the western coast of South America are renowned as an evolutionary and ecological living laboratory. These Pacific islands can serve as a barometer to gauge how climate and ecosystems interact, and provide a unique window into the relationship between mankind’s rapid development and a continuously changing environment. The [...]

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Rwandan Drought; Ongoing Climate Concerns






by Aura Lawson La Niña has persisted longer than expected this year, and with it comes agricultural uncertainty for many countries across the globe. Rwanda is no exception. Anthony Twahirwa, head of Rwanda’s Meteorological Center, explains that their forecasting agency expected decreased rainfall as a result of La Niña, or abnormally cool waters in the [...]

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Part 7: Earth’s Carbon Cycle






Luisa Cristini, PhD, University of Hawaii at Manoa [Note from the editor: This is the seventh in a series of blog entries that will focus on introductory topics in climate dynamics and modeling, and will be a great insight into the current understanding of the science.] The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which [...]

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Recent Solar Storm Floods Earth’s Upper Atmosphere






By Pennell Paugh Though the Earth is constantly bombarded by charged particles from the Sun, which emits material in all directions in a process known as the solar wind, sometimes the Sun ramps up magnetic activity on its surface, triggering huge flares of insidious plasma. NASA Science News announced that a huge solar storm occurred [...]

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Part 6: Water – Earth’s Most Precious Resource






Luisa Cristini, PhD, University of Hawaii at Manoa [Note from the editor: This is the sixth in a series of blog entries that will focus on introductory topics in climate dynamics and modeling, and will be a great insight into the current understanding of the science.] One of Earth’s unique and finite resources is water. [...]

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Should Methane Be Our First Line of Attack to Slow Global Heating?






By Penny Paugh Scientist Peter Cox, speaking at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom), recently suggests that the way to win the battle with greenhouse gases is to lower methane emissions. In fact, curbing methane may be the best way to stem dangerous warming. Methane is released in many ways: landfills, livestock, rice paddies, coal [...]

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