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Climate - March 17

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Arctic could have iceless summers by 2100

Alan Zarembo, LA Times
Climate models show a complete melting down to open ocean in warmer weather, maybe as early as 2040.
A review of existing computer climate models suggests that global warming could transform the North Pole into an ice-free expanse of ocean at the end of each summer by 2100, scientists reported today.

The researchers said that out of the 15 models they looked at, about half forecast that the sea-ice cover - a continent-sized expanse that shrinks and grows with the seasons - would seasonally vanish by the turn of the century.

"That may be conservative," said lead author Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.

One model predicted the Arctic would be ice-free each September as early as 2040, according to the article in the journal Science.
(16 March 2007)

World weathers warmest winter on record

Suzanne Ma, CanWest News Service
OTTAWA -- This winter was the warmest on record worldwide, according to a U.S. report on climate change, and Canada had a big role to play in it.

...The report, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that during the past century, global temperatures have increased at about 0.11 degrees per decade. But that increase has been three times larger since 1976.
(16 March 2007)

Alberta is Canada's top polluter, survey finds

Martin Mittelstaedt, Globe & Mail
Alberta industries were Canada's top greenhouse-gas emitters in 2005, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of all the climate-warming gases released that year by major corporations, a survey compiled by two environmental groups says.

The survey, based on an analysis of pollution data filed by companies to Environment Canada, found that Alberta businesses far outpaced those of the next-biggest greenhouse-gas emitter, Ontario, which accounted for 28 per cent of the total, and third-ranked Saskatchewan, with 8 per cent.

The results, to be released today, show that when it comes to corporate greenhouse-gas releases, Alberta is in a league of its own and would be the most affected by any federal regulations that would cut industrial emissions of gases blamed for global warming.
(15 March 2007)

Climate change ended Angkor - report

AAP, The Age
Climate change was one of the key factors in the abandonment of Cambodia's ancient city of Angkor, Australian archaeologists said today.

The centuries-old city, home to more than 700,000 people and capital of the Khmer empire from about 900AD, was mysteriously abandoned about 500 years ago.

It has long been believed the Khmers deserted the city after a Thai army ransacked it, but University of Sydney archaeologists working the site say a water crisis was the real reason it was left to crumble.

"It now appears the city was abandoned during the transition from the medieval warm period to the little ice age," Associate Professor of Archaeology Roland Fletcher said in a statement released by the university.

...Professor Fletcher said the discoveries complemented previous field work which had led his team to conclude the city was abandoned when new monsoon patterns, brought about by climate change, had made the site unsustainable.
(X March 2007)
Contributor SP writes:
So while AGW deniers harp on about the Medieval Warm Period (a European anomaly) and grapes in England (with the implication being it was "a good thing"), we now know that the Maya and the Khmer empires collapsed as a result of changing rainfall.

I recomend a virtual tour via google earth, the Angkor site is immense.

Clean coal technology 'a lost opportunity'

Greens leader Bob Brown says Prime Minister John Howard is 10 years too late in supporting clean coal technology.

Senator Brown has spoken at a public meeting in the central Queensland mining town of Blackwater, where there is concern that thousands of jobs could be lost if coal exports are phased out. The federal and state governments have recently supported clean coal pilot projects but Senator Brown says the technology is still a long way off.

"Clean coal is 15 years away," he said. "If Mr Howard had got into it 10 years ago, it would be five years away. It's a lost opportunity. ..
(14 Mar 2007)

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