Thursday, January 22, 2009

GoodTimes Newz Roundup!

Around the news today:

Forests in the Pacific Northwest are dying twice as fast as they were 17 years ago, and scientists blame warming temperatures for the trend, according to a new study.

The study, to be released Friday in the journal Science, is the first large-scale analysis of environmental changes as contributing factors in the mortality of coniferous forests.

The data for this research was gathered by generations of scientists over a 50-year period at multiple sites in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and southwestern British Columbia. Seventy-six forest plots, all more than 200 years old, were monitored by scientists doing some of the most rudimentary research -- counting trees.

"It's not a happy story, but, an important one," said Phillip van Mantgem, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the lead author of the study. "These are beautiful places. They do change and respond to their environment, sometimes quickly."

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ROTHERA BASE, Antarctica (Reuters) - Antarctica is getting warmer rather than cooling as widely believed, according to a study that fits the icy continent into a trend of global warming.

A review by U.S. scientists of satellite and weather records for Antarctica, which contains 90 percent of the world's ice and would raise world sea levels if it thaws, showed that freezing temperatures had risen by about 0.5 Celsius (0.8 Fahrenheit) since the 1950s.

"The thing you hear all the time is that Antarctica is cooling and that's not the case," said Eric Steig of the University of Washington in Seattle, lead author of the study in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.

The average temperature rise was "very comparable to the global average," he told a telephone news briefing.

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