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:: Study: Arctic seafloor methane releases double previous estimates

The seafloor off the coast of Northern Siberia is releasing more than twice the amount of methane as previously estimated, according to new research results published in the Nov. 24 edition of the journal Nature Geoscience. The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is venting at least 17 teragrams of the methane into the atmosphere each year. A teragram is equal to 1 million tons.

:: Provisional Statement on Status of Climate in 2013

Continuing high temperatures globally and many climate extremes worldwide. The year 2013 is currently on course to be among the top ten warmest years since modern records began in 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization. The first nine months, January to September, tied with 2003 as the seventh warmest such period on record, with a global land and ocean surface temperature of about 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 1961–1990 average.

:: Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in Atmosphere Reach New Record

The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our planet for hundreds and thousands of years. The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.

:: Aerial pictures reveal climate change

New system for early detection of plant spread in water bodies. As a result of climate change, certain undesirable aquatic plants are starting to invade German water bodies. Even popular recreation areas like Lake Starnberg have been affected, leading to a growing need to monitor the spread of these plants. Up to now, regular monitoring has proven to be a costly process. But in a new approach, researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM) have developed a quicker and less expensive method.

:: Thawing Permafrost: The speed of coastal erosion in Eastern Siberia has nearly doubled

The high cliffs of Eastern Siberia – which mainly consist of permafrost – continue to erode at an ever quickening pace. This is the conclusion which scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research have reached after their evaluation of data and aerial photographs of the coastal regions for the last 40 years. According to the researchers, the reasons for this increasing erosion are rising summer temperatures in the Russian permafrost regions as well the retreat of the Arctic sea ice. This coastal protection recedes more and more on an annual basis. As a result, waves undermine the shores. At the same time, the land surface begins to sink. The small island of Muostakh east of the Lena Delta is especially affected by these changes. Experts fear that it might even disappear altogether should the loss of land continue.

:: Environment: Water pollution is decreasing but a lot remains to be done

Water pollution caused by nitrates has decreased in Europe over the past two decades, but agricultural pressures are still putting water resources under strain. The latest Report on the implementation of the Nitrates Directivereveals that nitrates concentrations are slightly decreasing in both surface and groundwater and sustainable agricultural practices are more widespread. Although the overall trend is positive, nitrates pollution and eutrophication – the excess growth of weeds and algae that suffocates life in rivers and seas – are still causing problems in many Member States and further action is needed to bring the waters in the European Union to a good status within a reasonable timescale.

:: Germany is able to become a (nearly) greenhouse gas-neutral country

Large industrialized countries can also reduce CO2 emissions by 95 percent until 2050. Can an industrialized country such as Germany avoid nearly all of its man-made greenhouse gas emissions? According to a study by the Federal Environment Agency, the answer is 'yes': "It is technically possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 100 per cent compared to 1990 levels – with technologies that are available today," says Jochen Flasbarth, President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

:: New global treaty cuts mercury emissions and releases, sets up controls on products, mines and industrial plants

Japan, a country which has come to epitomize mercury poisoning in modern times,  became one of the first countries to sign a historic new international convention to reduce emissions and releases of the toxic metal into air, land and water and to phase out many products that contain mercury. The Minamata Convention on Mercury - a global, legally binding treaty which opened for signature today - was agreed to by governments in January and formally adopted as international law. The new treaty is the first new global convention on environment and health for close to a decade. Coming at a time when some multilateral negotiations have faced challenges, its successful negotiation, after a four-year process, provides a new momentum to intergovernmental cooperation on the environment.

:: Long-term data reveal: The deep Greenland Sea is warming faster than the World Ocean

Recent warming of the Greenland Sea Deep Water is about ten times higher than warming rates estimated for the global ocean. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research recently published these findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. For their study, they analysed  temperature data from 1950 to 2010 in the abyssal Greenland Sea, which is an ocean area located just to the south of the Arctic Ocean.

:: Study: Air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths each year in the U.S.

New MIT study finds vehicle emissions are the biggest contributor to these premature deaths. Researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have come out with some sobering new data on air pollution’s impact on Americans’ health.

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