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Fri04282017

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Climate Change

'Dark snow' project turns to crowdfunding for Greenland expedition

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altThere is already much excitement in the arts, media and beyond about the potential of crowdfunding - via sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo – to finance projects that might others have remained an unfulfilled dream. To date, though, few scientific expeditions have successfully utilised crowd-funding.

The Dark Snow Project hopes to change this. Jason Box, a climatologist based at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, is hoping to raise $150,000 over the coming months to pay for an expedition this summer up onto the "ice dome" of Greenland to gather samples of snow. The project's website explains:

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Drought-damaged states face poor outlook as dry weather persists

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altA persistent drought held its grip on America's bread basket on Thursday, with no sign of relief for the four main wheat-growing states.

The poor outlook for winter wheat, which accounts for about 70% of the US crop, has raised fears about further food prices shocks, after widespread failure of last year's corn and soybean crops.

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Rogue geoengineering could 'hijack' world's climate

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altThe world's climate could be hijacked by a rogue country or wealthy individual firing small particles into the stratosphere, claims a warning that comes not from a new Hollywood movie trailer but a sober report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The deployment of independent, large-scale "geoengineering" techniques aimed at averting dangerous warming warrants more research because it could lead to an international crisis with unpredictable costs to agriculture, infrastructure and global stability, said the Geneva-based WEF in its annual Global Risks report before the Davos economic summit later this month. It also warned that ongoing economic weakness is sapping the ability of governments to tackle the growing threat of climate change.

"The global climate could, in effect, be hijacked. For example, an island state threatened with rising sea levels may decide they have nothing to lose, or a well-funded individual with good intentions may take matters into their own hands," the report notes. It said there are "signs that this is already starting to occur", highlighting the case of a story broken by the Guardian involving the dumping of 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off the Canadian coast in 2012, in a bid to spawn plankton and capture carbon.

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2012 second wettest year on record for UK

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alt2012 was the second wettest year on record in the UK and the wettest ever in England, the Met Office announced on Thursday.

The downpours that caused more than 8,000 homes and businesses to suffer flooding led to a total of 1,330.7mm of rain for the year, just 6.6mm short of the wettest UK year recorded in 2000 (1337.3mm).

Analysis by the Met Office also suggests that the UK may be getting increasingly wetter as climate change causes warmer air to carry more water. Days of extreme rainfall – downpours expected once every 100 days – occurred every 70 days in 2012.

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Lisa Jackson's legacy at the Environmental Protection Agency

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altAs Lisa Jackson gets ready to step down as head of the EPA shortly after the president's inauguration later this month, she is being hailed by environmentalists for pushing through the toughest new air and water pollution rules in over two decades, and speaking out on climate change in an administration that has largely avoided confronting the issue head-on.

Jackson is admired even by some of her critics. Republican James M Inhofe of Oklahoma, a leading Senate opponent of environmental legislation, referred to the charming Jackson as "my favorite bureaucrat".

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