Earth ChangesS


Global Warming Could Radically Change Lake Tahoe In Ten Years

A new UC Davis study predicts that climate change will irreversibly alter water circulation in Lake Tahoe, radically changing the conditions for plants and fish in the lake -- and it could happen in 10 years.

One likely result would be a warmer lake overall, with fewer cold-water native fish, and more invasive species, such as large-mouth bass, bluegill and carp.

Still unclear is how the changes would affect the lake's phenomenal clarity and cobalt-blue color, which have helped to make the Tahoe Basin an international vacation destination.

Lake Tahoe
©Sylvia Wright/UC Davis photo
Still unclear is how the changes would affect the lake's phenomenal clarity and cobalt-blue color.

The new findings were announced March 18 at a Tahoe scientific conference by three lake experts from the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at UC Davis -- Director Geoffrey Schladow, Associate Director John Reuter and postdoctoral researcher Goloka Sahoo.


Delicate Partnership Between Coral And Algae Threatened By Global Warming

Over two hundred million humans depend for their subsistence on the fact that coral has an addiction to 'junk food' - and orders its partners, the symbiotic algae, to make it.

This curious arrangement is one of Nature's most delicate and complex partnerships - a collaboration now facing grave threats from climate change.

coral and zooxanthellae
The symbiosis between coral and zooxanthellae is not only powerful enough to build the largest living organism on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef, but also underpins the economies and living standards of many tropical nations and societies who harvest their food from the reefs or have developing tourism industries.

Bizarro Earth

Western Antarctic Ice Chunk Collapses

WASHINGTON - A chunk of Antarctic ice about seven times the size of Manhattan suddenly collapsed, putting an even greater portion of glacial ice at risk, scientists said Tuesday.

©AP Photo/ National Snow and Ice Data Center, NASA
This satellite photo released by the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder shows the Wilkins Ice Shelf on March 6, 2008 on the Southwest Antarctic Peninsula as it began to break apart.


Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why

©Michael Durham/Getty Images
THREAT Healthy bats, like the one above, hibernate in winter.

Al Hicks was standing outside an old mine in the Adirondacks, the largest bat hibernaculum, or winter resting place, in New York State.

But bats dying from a mystery illness have been found in the snow in daylight hours.

It was broad daylight in the middle of winter, and bats flew out of the mine about one a minute. Some had fallen to the ground where they flailed around on the snow like tiny wind-broken umbrellas, using the thumbs at the top joint of their wings to gain their balance.

Alarm Clock

Shocking New Data on Earthquakes in Southern Nevada Released

A shocking new report shows what kind of damage a large earthquake would do to Las Vegas. It also shows that "the big one" could hit here in the next 50 years.

Right at Tropicana and Decatur is the closest active fault to the Las Vegas Strip. It runs north and south along Decatur. The new damage data may be shocking, but it can better prepare the buildings in our area.


Strong Earthquake Strikes Northern Chile

Chile 6.1 quake

A 6.1-magnitude quake has hit northern Chile close to the border with Bolivia, the US Geological Survey reports.

The tremor, whose epicentre was 145km (90 miles) east of the coastal city of Iquique, struck at a depth of more than 120km (74 miles), it adds.


Best of the Web: Death of the Bees: GMO Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America

'Commercial beehives pollinate over a third of [North}America's crops and that web of nourishment encompasses everything from fruits like peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries and more, to nuts like California almonds, 90 percent of which are helped along by the honeybees. Without this pollination, you could kiss those crops goodbye, to say nothing of the honey bees produce or the flowers they also fertilize'.1


Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change

Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. By using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land-use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.

Bizarro Earth

Biofuels will speed climate change, chief scientist says

The UK's chief environment scientist has called for a delay to a policy demanding inclusion of biofuels into fuel at pumps across the UK.

Professor Robert Watson said ministers should await the results of their inquiry into biofuels' sustainability.

Some scientists think biofuels' carbon benefits may be currently outweighed by negative effects from their production.


4.1 earthquake at Yellowstone National Park

US Dept. of the Interior - National Park Service
©National Park Service
At Yellowstone and some other volcanoes, some scientists theorize that the earth's crust fractures and cracks in a concentric or ring-fracture pattern. At some point these cracks reach the magma "reservoir," release the pressure, and the volcano explodes. The huge amount of material released causes the volcano to collapse into a huge crater - a caldera.

Comment: The University of Utah, as a member of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), maintains a series of seismograph stations at Yellowstone National Park. Recent readings capturing a short series of quakes can be seen at their site.