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Warming Climate Accelerated Greenland’s Thaw, Scientists Report

Adam Satariano, Bloomberg
Climate change led to accelerated melting of Greenland’s ice sheet during the past half-century, scientists said in a study that adds to evidence suggesting sea levels will rise faster than expected.

Global warming has led to a “significant increase” in Greenland summer warmth and ice sheet melt and runoff since 1990, according to the study, published yesterday in the Journal of Climate. In a review of ice thaw from 1958 to 2006, scientists determined that the five biggest melts have occurred since 1995.
(16 January 2008)

The storied Mediterranean faces climate change

Nicole Itano, Christian Science Monitor
From ancient Egypt to Rome, the fertile Mediterranean has sustained great empires for millenniums. But modern development is rapidly turning the cradle of Western civilization into a dry and inhospitable place, its coasts covered in hotels and many of its unique species driven to extinction.

In the past 30 years, coastal populations have grown some 50 percent. Coastal cities have doubled. Tourism has exploded: By 2025, 312 million tourists will visit each year. Water usage is twice that of 1950. More than 100 species are endangered.

Now, climate change is exacerbating the situation.

The region’s climate may already be changing faster than projected. In June, a recording station in Athens measured the highest temperature ever recorded there, nearly 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Overall, temperatures for the summer months were about 5 degrees warmer than average. Months passed without rain. Then deadly fires swept across the country, killing at least 67 people and scorching some 650,000 acres of land.

The abnormal weather in 2007 is not proof that climate change is here, scientists say, but it is a strong indicator. And it’s a taste of what’s likely to come if the world continues to spew greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
(14 January 2008)

Minnesota’s Peat Bogs ‘Wild Card’ in Global Warming

Bill McAuliffe, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Flat, scrubby, too wet to walk on but too dry to fish, Minnesota’s vast peatlands have long been regarded as good for almost nothing, including sightseeing. But now, in an age of climate change, the bogs are the target of a security alert. Experts fear that a warmer climate will speed the decomposition of peatland vegetation, which has been slowly decaying for 4,000 years. Carbon is naturally released as a byproduct of that decomposition, and the addition of an untold amount would cause the climate to warm even faster than it already is.
(9 January 2008)

Global warming could make Australia’s outback tougher: study

Life in Australia’s rugged outback could get even tougher when the effects of global warming bite, with extreme weather and outbreaks of exotic diseases in unexpected places, a new study suggests.

The world’s driest inhabited continent is predicted to be among the regions worst hit by climate change and is already grappling with a long-running drought thought by some researchers to be linked to global warming.

As well as droughts, the study, says the outback can expect to face floods and cyclones as temperatures rise.
(10 January 2008)

Japan temperatures could rise five degrees by 2100: panel

Global warming could cause temperatures in Japan to rise an average of 4.7 degrees Celsius (8.5 Fahrenheit) above normal by the last three decades of the century, an environment ministry panel has warned.

Japan’s rainfall may fluctuate widely between a 2.4 percent decline and a 16.4 percent increase compared with the levels recorded in the final four decades of the last century, the panel said in an interim report this week.
(10 January 2008)

Tropical dengue fever may threaten U.S.: report

Maggie Fox, Reuters
Dengue fever — a tropical infection that usually causes flu-like illness — may be poised to spread across the United States and urgent study is needed, health officials said on Tuesday.
(8 January 2008)