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Climate change

Description: The Earth's climate has not been constant over geological time. This record is contained in ice, which has built up as snowfall accumulated in distinct yearly layers. Pockets of air trapped between the snow crystals contain traces of past atmospheres, which in turn tell us about the climate at the time the snow formed. Glaciologists collect this record by drilling ice cores and then use sensitive chemical techniques to analyse the layers.
Date: 2003
Creator: British Antactic Survey

DIVERSITAS Science Plan

Description: This Science Plan is mainly concerned with the current extinction crisis on Earth, which, unlike its predecessors, is occurring at an unprecedented rate, is the direct result of human activities and is occurring at all levels at which diversity is measured - from the genetic diversity of many natural and domesticated species to the diversity of ecosystems and landscapes, through the tremendous richness of species. Current human-induced rates of species extinction are estimated to be about 1,000 times greater than past background rates. Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. Scientists commonly measure and describe this variety at the level of genes, species and ecosystems, but scientific interest in biodiversity goes far beyond describing and measuring it. The DIVERSITAS programme was founded to address the scientific questions that need to be answered in order to understand how biodiversity supports life on Earth, what the impacts of the present loss of biodiversity are for human and ecosystem survival and how humans can sustainably use and conserve biodiversity.
Date: September 2002
Creator: DIVERSITAS

Ozone

Description: The term "ozone depletion" means more than just the natural destruction of ozone, it means that ozone loss is exceeding ozone creation.
Date: 2002
Creator: NASA Earth Observatory

Ozone

Description: The amount and distribution of ozone molecules in the stratosphere varies greatly over the globe. Ozone molecules are transported around the stratosphere much as water clouds are transported in the troposphere. Therefore, scientists observing ozone fluctuations over just one spot could not know whether a change in local ozone levels meant an alteration in global ozone levels, or simply a fluctuation in the concentration over that particular spot. Satellites have given scientists the ability to overcome this problem because they provide a picture of what is happening daily over the entire Earth.
Date: 2002
Creator: NASA Earth Observatory

New Source of Natural Fertilizer Discovered in Oceans

Description: New findings suggest that the deep ocean is teeming with organisms that produce essential natural fertilizers. A National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research team led by Jonathan Zehr, a marine scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has discovered a previously unknown type of photosynthetic bacteria that fixes nitrogen, converting nitrogen from the atmosphere into a form other organisms can use.
Date: August 8, 2001
Creator: National Science Foundation Office of Legislative and Public Affairs

Climate Change Science Program Overview and Management

Description: This program identifies the following criteria of interest: scientific or technical quality; relevance to reducing uncertainties and improving decision support tools; track record of consistently good past performance and identified metrics for evaluating future progress; and cost and value.
Date: December 11, 2003
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program Vision for the Program and Highlights of the Scientific Strategic Plan

Description: The vision document provides an overview of the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) long-term strategic plan to enhance scientific understanding of global climate change.This document is a companion to the comprehensive Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program.
Date: July 2003
Creator: Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research

WIREC 2008 Ministerial Bulletin: A summary report of the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference 2008

Description: The Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008) convened from 4-6 March 2008, at the Washington, DC Convention Center in the US. WIREC 2008 consisted of a Ministerial Meeting, a business conference, a trade show exhibition and side events. More than 3000 participants from 118 countries registered for the Ministerial Meeting, including approximately 100 ministerial representatives. This Bulletin reports on the Ministerial Meeting events.
Date: April 11, 2008
Creator: Schulman, Mark

Weather and Highways: Report of a Policy Forum

Description: This report of a policy forum on "Weather and Highways" presents recommendations that, if implemented, could offer considerable benefits to the safety of the nation's traveling public and the national economy by supporting the effective application of weather information services to the operation of our road systems. The AMS Atmospheric Policy Program developed this forum to address the issues connected with effective use of road weather information. The participants included nearly 100 public, private, and academic representatives of weather information providers; transportation managers and users; and policy makers knowledgeable about the nation's highway system.
Date: 2004
Creator: Atmospheric Policy Program American Meteorological Society

Fiscal Year 2005- 2006 Accelerated Research on Global Climate Observations Fact Sheet

Description: Coincident with the release of the Climate Change Science Program strategic plan, the Administration announces plans for the acceleration of select high priority research projects and climate observations. These activities contribute to filling critical knowledge gaps identified in the plan (aerosols, oceans and the natural carbon cycle). The selected investments have been coordinated among the agencies to maximize the overall impact. Funding will be reallocated from lower priority areas to enable these critical investments.
Date: 2003
Creator: Climate Change Science Program

The ozone hole

Description: Discovery of the hole in the ozone layer showed that human activity can have major, and often unexpected impacts on the planet. The destruction of ozone in the stratosphere high above the planet's surface has been brought about as the result of the widespread use of chemicals which under normal conditions are chemically inert and harmless
Date: 2003
Creator: British Antactic Survey

Ozone

Description: Although it represents only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, ozone is crucial for life on Earth. Depending on where ozone resides, it can protect or harm life on Earth.
Date: 2002
Creator: NASA Earth Observatory

Ozone

Description: In the stratosphere, ozone is created primarily by ultraviolet radiation. When high-energy ultraviolet rays strike ordinary oxygen molecules (O2), they split the molecule into two single oxygen atoms, known as atomic oxygen. A freed oxygen atom then combines with another oxygen molecule to form a molecule of ozone. There is so much oxygen in our atmosphere, that these high-energy ultraviolet rays are completely absorbed in the stratosphere.
Date: 2002
Creator: NASA Earth Observatory

Energy Policy Act

Description: The Energy Policy Act (EPA) addresses energy production in the United States, including: (1) energy efficiency; (2) renewable energy; (3) oil and gas; (4) coal; (5) Tribal energy; (6) nuclear matters and security; (7) vehicles and motor fuels, including ethanol; (8) hydrogen; (9) electricity; (10) energy tax incentives; (11) hydropower and geothermal energy; and (12) climate change technology. For example, the Act provides loan guarantees for entities that develop or use innovative technologies that avoid the by-production of greenhouse gases. Another provision of the Act increases the amount of biofuel that must be mixed with gasoline sold in the United States.
Date: January 4, 2005
Creator: United States. Congress.

Endangered Species Act of 1973

Description: The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of the Department of the Interior maintains a worldwide list which, as of Feb. 20, 2008, included 1574 endangered species (599 are plants) and 351 threatened species (148 are plants). Species include birds, insects, fish, reptiles, mammals, crustaceans, flowers, grasses, and trees. Anyone can petition FWS to include a species on this list. The law requires federal agencies, in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service, to ensure that actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat of such species. The law also prohibits any action that causes a "taking" of any listed species of endangered fish or wildlife. Likewise, import, export, interstate, and foreign commerce of listed species are all generally prohibited.
Date: January 24, 2002
Creator: United States. Congress. House.

Antarctic fact-file

Description: Antarctica is a continent for science. All countries working in Antarctica carry out scientific research, in a surprising range of physical and biological sciences, from the vastness of space to the minute scale of micro-organisms. Activities are regulated by the Antarctic Treaty, which has been in force since 1959 and is signed by all countries operating there. The Treaty reserves the continent for peaceful purposes, and all military and industrial activities are banned.
Date: 2003
Creator: British Antactic Survey

More El Niños May Mean More Rainfall Extremes

Description: Researchers at NASA and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), studying changes in tropical precipitation patterns, have noted a higher frequency of El Niños and La Niñas over the last 21 years. In addition, when either of those events occur, the world can expect more months with unusually high or low precipitation with droughts more common than floods over land areas.
Date: January 16, 2001
Creator: Earth Observatory

Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources

Description: The U.S. Government's Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is responsible for providing the best science-based knowledge possible to inform management of the risks and opportunities associated with changes in the climate and related environmental systems. To support its mission, the CCSP has commissioned 21 "synthesis and assessment products" (SAPs) to advance decision making on climate change-related issues by providing current evaluations of climate change science and identifying priorities for research, observation, and decision support. This Report-SAP 4.4-focuses on federally managed lands and waters to provide a "Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources." It is one of seven reports that support Goal 4 of the CCSP Strategic Plan to understand the sensitivity and adaptability of different natural and managed ecosystems and human systems to climate and related global changes. The purpose of SAP 4.4 is to provide useful information on the state of knowledge regarding adaptation options for key, representative ecosystems and resources that may be sensitive to climate variability and change. As its title suggests, this report is a preliminary review, defined as "the process of collecting and reviewing available information about known or potential adaptation options."
Date: June 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research

Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States

Description: This document, part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. Climate affects the design, construction, safety, operations, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure and systems. The prospect of a changing climate raises critical questions regarding how alterations in temperature, precipitation, storm events, and other aspects of the climate could affect the nation's roads, airports, rail, transit systems, pipelines, ports, and waterways. Phase I of this regional assessment of climate change and its potential impacts on transportation systems addresses these questions for the region of the U.S. central Gulf Coast between Galveston, Texas and Mobile, Alabama. This region contains multimodal transportation infrastructure that is critical to regional and national transportation services. Historical trends and future climate scenarios were used to establish a context for examining the potential effects of climate change on all major transportation modes within the region. Climate changes anticipated during the next 50 to 100 years for the central Gulf Coast include warming temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and increased storm intensity. The warming of the oceans and decline of polar ice sheets is expected to accelerate the rate of sea level rise globally. The effects of sea level rise in most central Gulf Coast counties will be exacerbated by the sinking of the land surface, which is accounted for in this assessment. The significance of these climate factors for transportation systems was assessed.
Date: February 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research

Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region

Description: This document is part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. The U.S. Government's CCSP is responsible for providing the best science-based knowledge possible to inform management of the risks and opportunities associated with changes in the climate and related environmental systems. To support its mission, the CCSP has commissioned 21 "synthesis and assessment products" (SAPs) to advance decision making on climate change-related issues by providing current evaluations of climate change science and identifying priorities for research, observation, and decision support. This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP), developed as part of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, examines potential effects of sea-level rise from climate change during the twenty-first century, with a focus on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. Using scientific literature and policy-related documents, the SAP describes the physical environments; potential changes to coastal environments, wetlands, and vulnerable species; societal impacts and implications of sea-level rise; decisions that may be sensitive to sea-level rise; opportunities for adaptation; and institutional barriers to adaptation.
Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research

Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Decision Making

Description: This report discusses the current state of understanding about the characteristics and implications of uncertainty related to climate change and variability to an audience of policymakers, decision makers, and members of the media and general public with an interest in developing a fundamental understanding of the issue.
Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research

Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations using Seasonal-to-Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data: A Focus on Water Resources

Description: This Synthesis and Assessment Product focuses on the connection between the scientific ability to predict climate on seasonal scales and the opportunity to incorporate such understanding into water resource management decisions. It directly addresses decision support experiments and evaluations that have used seasonal-to-interannual forecasts and observational data, and is expected to inform (1) decision makers about the relative success of experiences of others who have experimented with these forecasts and data in resource management; (2) climatologists, hydrologists, and social scientists on how to advance the delivery of decision-support resources that use the most recent forecast products, methodologies, and tools; and (3) science and resource managers as they plan for future investments in research related to forecasts and their role in decision support. It is important to note, however, that while the focus of this Product is on the water resources management sector, the findings within this Synthesis and Assessment Product may be directly transferred to other sectors.
Date: January 2009
Creator: Beller-Simms, Nancy; Ingram, Helen; Feldman, David; Mantua, Nathan; Jacobs, Katharine L. & Waple, Anne M.

Thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems

Description: This Report (SAP 4.2) focuses on the thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems. As defined in this Synthesis and Assessment Report, 'an ecological threshold is the point at which there is an abrupt change in an ecosystem quality, property, or phenomenon, or where small changes in one or more external conditions produce large and persistent responses in an ecosystem'.Ecological thresholds occur when external factors, positive feedbacks, or nonlinear instabilities in a system cause changes to propagate in a domino-like fashion that is potentially irreversible. This report reviews threshold changes in North American ecosystems that are potentially induced by climatic change and addresses the significant challenges these threshold crossings impose on resource and land managers. Sudden changes to ecosystems and the goods and services they provide are not well understood, but they are extremely important if natural resource managers are to succeed in developing adaptation strategies in a changing world. The report provides an overview of what is known about ecological thresholds and where they are likely to occur. It also identifies those areas where research is most needed to improve knowledge and understand the uncertainties regarding them. The report suggests a suite of potential actions that land and resource managers could use to improve the likelihood of success for the resources they manage, even under conditions of incomplete understanding of what drives thresholds of change and when changes will occur.
Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research