Scientists remove first seeds from ‘doomsday’ Arctic seed vault. Why? War in Syria.

The Global Seed Vault in Norway. REUTERS

The ongoing war in Syria has led researchers to make the first withdrawal of seeds from a "doomsday" vault in an Arctic mountainside, to protect global food supplies. Read the rest

Why you should be very concerned about Greenland's literal meltdown


“NASA-supported researchers have found that ice covering Greenland is melting faster than previously thought. The action is happening out of sight, below the surface.”

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Watch the arctic ice cap disappear in these National Geographic maps


"Yes, Mr. President," the headline says. "We Remade Our Atlas to Reflect Shrinking Ice"

In a speech about climate change, Barack Obama had noted that over the years, National Geographic maps of the arctic had changed. The 10th edition of its Atlas of the World, especially, shows a much-diminished ice cap—and even more is gone in the 2014 edition.

As the ocean heats up due to global warming, Arctic sea ice has been locked in a downward spiral. Since the late 1970s, the ice has retreated by 12 percent per decade, worsening after 2007, according to NASA. May 2014 represented the third lowest extent of sea ice during that month in the satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Ice loss is accelerated in the Arctic because of a phenomenon known as the feedback loop: Thin ice is less reflective than thick ice, allowing more sunlight to be absorbed by the ocean, which in turn weakens the ice and warms the ocean even more, NASA says.

The most recent map shows the north pole barely fifty miles from the edge. [via Flowing Data] Read the rest

Watch: Clinton's amusing parody of GOP climate change deniers

Starring the lot of GOP 2016 contenders, Hillary adds a bit of entertainment to her campaign with this parody of climate change deniers in the form of a classic monster movie.

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What's causing climate change?


Is it orbital changes? No? Solar variation? Uh uh. Volcanoes? Ffft. What could it possibly be? [Bloomberg] Read the rest

US Navy: By 2050 Arctic Ocean ice will all melt in summers


Many troubling stats about climate change's effect in the North Pole region are tucked into Newsweek's article on the geopolitical gold rush taking place up there. Read the rest

California's incipient dustbowl: photos of a drought

If the before-and-after drought pics of Getty's Justin Sullivan don't make you gasp aloud, you're made of sterner stuff than I; above, Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville (now); below, 2011. Read the rest

OECD predicts collapse of capitalism

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a pro-establishment, rock-ribbed bastion of pro-market thinking -- has released a report predicting a collapse in global economic growth rates, a rise in feudal wealth disparity, collapsing tax revenue and huge, migrating bands of migrant laborers roaming from country to country, seeking crumbs of work. They prescribe "flexible" workforces, austerity, and mass privatization. Read the rest

Climate change is life and death

Temperatures rise. Scientists warn and study. Conspiracy theorists cry foul. Politicians scoff and wheedle and suppress, while their bureaucrats calmly plan ahead. In the meantime, life and death go on—just not in quite the same way we're used to. Posted by Rob Beschizza.

Global ocean surface temperature in 2014 was highest ever recorded for May

"The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for May 2014 was record highest for this month, at 0.74°C (1.33°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F). " More great news about global warming in the NOAA National Climate Data Center briefing here. Read the rest

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: This is the difference between weather and climate change

This Cosmos clip of Neil DeGrasse Tyson is going viral, and for good reason. It's a terrific explainer of the difference between weather and climate change, and the role we humans play in warming the earth's oceans. It's just two minutes long. Read the rest

The 30 US landmarks most likely to be obliterated by climate change

Photo: Reuters

From the Statue of Liberty in NYC to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, American landmarks are threatened by a likelihood of floods, rising sea levels and fires, said a group of scientists today. Read the rest

Scientific message in a bottle

In 1959, geologist Paul Walker put this note into a bottle and left it buried inside a pile of rocks in a remote part of the Arctic. More than just a "GEOLOGY WUZ HERE" sort of message, though, the note requested that whoever found it measure the distance between the cairn that contained the bottle and a nearby glacier and send the measurement to him. The goal: To document whether the glacier was advancing or retreating.

A group of scientists discovered the message this summer and followed its instructions. What they found is probably unsurprising to anybody who has been paying attention to the state of Arctic ice over the last couple decades. In 1959, the cairn and the glacier were 168.3 feet apart. Today, there is 333 feet between them. Read the rest

Phone app helps visualize sea level rise

Looking Glass is a prototype phone application that allows you to see the future of sea level rise right in front of your face. There have been some other programs aimed at visualizing sea level rise recently — Drown Your Town, which adds rising water levels to Google Earth, is the most famous example. Looking Glass is a little bit different in that it moves the sea level rise to a first-person point of view. So you can drown not just the town, but your living room, or the people standing directly in front of you.

Right now, Looking Glass is a prototype that only works for the town of Wickford, Rhode Island. But it's a cool concept that could be expanded to a larger number of cities, later on. The goal, says creator Eli Kintisch is to make the invisible visible — to take things that we can only read about in dry scientific papers and show us what they'd really be like to live with. Read the rest

'Rising Seas,' long-form radio doc on climate change by Alex Chadwick and 'BURN: An Energy Journal'

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My friend, former NPR colleague, and longtime journalism mentor Alex Chadwick has an incredible new radio documenting hitting the public radio airwaves this week. We're sharing it here on Boing Boing before it hits the radio-waves. I asked Alex to tell us a little about 'Rising Seas.' He explains:

The Rising Seas project grew out of an encounter at an MIT energy seminar almost a year ago. I met an Americanized Brit, Dr. Len Berry, from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He's been speaking forcefully and clearly about the threat that rising seas present. At the end of his talk, I asked if Miami is a viable city. He smiled and answered, 'well, it is right now'.

And then I asked about the end of the century. He smiled again, but said nothing.

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