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Climate & Environment - July 29

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Warming world 'drying wetlands'

BBC online
More than 700 scientists are attending a major conference to draw up an action plan to protect the world's wetlands.

Organisers say a better understanding of how to manage the vital ecosystems is urgently needed.

Rising temperatures are not only accelerating evaporation rates, but also reducing rainfall levels and the volume of meltwater from glaciers.

Although only covering 6% of the Earth's land surface, they store up to an estimated 20% of terrestrial carbon...
(22 July 2008)


Black churches urge action on global warming

John Monk, The State
For the first time, one of South Carolina’s largest alliances of black churches has spoken out, warning of the dangers of human-caused global warming.

Global warming is real and poses different threats including drought, larger storms like Katrina and forest fires, leaders of the state’s African American denominations of the National Council of Churches said Monday. It represents some 2,000 churches in South Carolina.

“We are called as Christians to get involved in the climate debate,” said Dr. Benjamin Snoddy, president of the South Carolina Baptist Education and Missionary Convention...
(28 July 2008)


Survey cruise records second-largest "Dead Zone" in Gulf of Mexico since measurements began in 1985

NOAA
NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium found the size of this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be 7,988 square miles, slightly smaller than the predicted record size of 8,800 square miles and similar to the area measured in 2007. Scientists think Hurricane Dolly’s wind and waves may have added oxygen to the zone to reduce its size.

The research cruise, led by LUMCON’s Nancy Rabalais, PhD., found this year’s dead zone is the second largest on record since measurements began in 1985 and is larger than the land area of the state of Massachusetts. The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been 6,600 square miles, much larger than the interagency Gulf of Mexico/Mississippi River Watershed Nutrient Task force goal of reducing the Zone to 2,000 square miles.

“The continuing presence of a large dead zone highlights the need to implement ways to reduce the amount of nutrients coming from the Mississippi River watershed which have contributed the dead zone growth in recent years,” said said Rob Magnien, director of NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research. “Reducing nutrient pollution to protect coastal resources is one of the greatest ecosystem management challenges that we face nation-wide.”...
(28 July 2008)

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