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Tim Radford – Humans’ indelible mark on new era

Geologists are convinced that humans have left a mark upon the planet that will detectable millions of years from now. Long after human civilisation has perished, there could be a stratum of fossilised rock and a geological time zone that says: “We were here.” So there is a case for calling the present epoch “the Anthropocene” − probably dating from …

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Tim Radford – Forests of southwest US face mass die-off by 2100

Tens of millions of trees in California are now at risk because of sustained drought, according to new research. And a different study in a different journal foresees a parched future for the evergreen forests not just in the Golden State but in the entire US southwest. Gregory Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California and colleagues …

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Tim Radford – Scientists post extreme weather warning

New research warns that longer, hotter and more frequent heatwaves than those that killed 55,000 Russians in 2010, or 72,000 in France, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK in 2003, will hit Europe in the next two decades. But, over the same period, Europe could also begin to get colder as a consequence of a drop in solar …

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Tim Radford – West Antarctic ice cascades towards crisis

Just a few more decades of ocean warming would be enough to destabilise the relatively small region of ice by the Amundsen Sea − starting a cascade of slipping and sliding that would tip enough ice into the ocean to raise sea levels by three metres. The loss of ice would continue for centuries. Two scientists at the Potsdam Institute …

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Tim Radford – Birds and reptiles feel the survival heat

A series of new scientific reports highlights yet again the threats that climate change and rising temperatures are posing for many species. LONDON, 7 November, 2015 – The gloriously-coloured forest birds of Hawaii may lose at least half their living space because of climate change, according to new research. And soaring global temperatures mean that many of the world’s lizards …

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Tim Radford – Scorched earth threat to US agriculture

A deadly mix of prolonged drought and wildfire, driven by climate change, could do more than just lay waste to crops and woodland in the western US. It could scorch the earth and trigger ever greater levels of soil erosion. Joel Sankey a researcher at the US Geological Survey, told the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, …