NASA’s $424 million Glory satellite, meant to monitor aerosols and solar radiation, crashed into the Pacific last week. Climate scientists were relying on the satellite data to fill critical information gaps. The accident comes at an inopportune time, as Congress is in the process of determining NASA’s future funding, particularly for its climate science efforts.
Senate Democrats are attempting to protect energy and climate programs in response to Republican-dominated House efforts to cut their budgets. The two measures are greatly divergent and will lead to prolonged negotiations, possibly causing a government shutdown. Many of the Senate attempts still fall short of President Obama’s budget requests.
In the past few years, coffee yields in Columbia and other Latin American countries have plummeted due to rising temperatures and more intense and unpredictable rains. Futures of Arabica coffee have risen more than 85 percent since last June. Even as output is declining from unsuccessful ripening of beans and increased pest problems, demand continues to grow from emerging middle classes in other countries.
A new study, based on 20 years of NASA satellite data and published in Geophysical Research Letters, determined that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass at an accelerating pace and are expected to become the dominant contributor to sea-level rise around the world. With current trends, melting ice-sheets alone are predicted to raise sea level by 5.9 inches by 2050, outpacing the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections in 2007.
A House subcommittee approved – on voice vote – a bill, known as the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, to prevent the Environmental Protections Agency from regulating carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. The bill will continue on to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee with 40 House, mostly Republican, co-sponsors.