Climate Letter #1051

How temperature change affects natural methane emissions from watery environments.  This important study goes far to help explain why atmospheric methane levels went up and down as they did during every major ice age cycle.  “Never before have such unequivocal, strong relationships between temperature and emissions of methane bubbles been shown on such a wide, continent-spanning scale.”  This particular source of methane is important, but today is considerably outweighed by other sources that originate with human activities.  Changes in the “human group” are not controlled by temperature change feedback but do have a similar effect on temperature whenever they rise or fall.
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How rapidly will sea level rise in this century?  This review of current thinking was written by a meteorologist who is also a frequent climate journalist.  Many scientists apparently believe the West Antarctic ice sheet could collapse quickly enough to add as much as eleven feet to sea level in this century.  The reasons are all included in this story, which thankfully also includes some reasons for doubt.
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A situation update on ocean acidification.  This report was prepared for the UN conference in Bonn by a German research group.  It highlights the negative effects being felt by a wide variety of marine species, in particular those that inhabit the polar regions where the corrosive nature of the waters is greatest.  The report also foresees a reduction in the oceans’ normal ability to sequester up to 25% of human CO2 emissions.  The scientists warn that “the only way to halt further ocean acidification is a drastic cut in CO2 emissions.”
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A commentary on the methods and benefits of carbon farming.  The is the best of all ideas for how to put carbon back from doing harm to where it can do some good, but it does not get enough attention or promotion.  “Farmers often make decisions in response to short-term economic pressures and government policies. Improved soil management is a public good. We need economic tools and short-term incentives that encourage producers to adopt these practices for the good of all.”
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What the new Tesla truck means for the future of transportation.  This story has a rundown of all the major advantages over existing trucks, including a surprising advantage in costs.  Even if the company should fail for some reason a pattern for the industry’s future has clearly been established.  Imagine running these things on fully renewable energy some day!
Carl
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