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:: Cultural world heritage threatened by climate change

From the Statue of Liberty in New York to the Tower of London or the Sydney Opera House – sea-level rise not only affects settlement areas for large parts of the world population but also numerous sites of the UNESCO World Heritage. This is shown in a new study by Ben Marzeion from the University of Innsbruck and Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

:: Turning the tide on Europe's Oceans and Seas

A new report published today paints a worrying picture of Europe's seas. The Commission's analysis, which will be presented at the "Healthy Oceans – Productive Ecosystems" (HOPE) conference in Brussels on 3-4 March, shows a marine environment that will require urgent efforts to reach good status by 2020. Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "The message is clear: Europe's seas and oceans are not in good shape. But we depend on these seas, and we need to find a balance. That means finding ways to reap their economic potential without increasing the pressure on an already fragile environment, creating growth and jobs that are secure in the long term."

:: Pollen influences optical properties of the atmosphere

Laser measurements show: pollen has considerably influence on air qualityLeipzig, Germany. Pollen reflects more sunlight than previously known, and makes up to one third of the total amount of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Aerosol particles influence optical depth which provides a measure of the opacity of the atmosphere. These results, reported by scientists of the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) in Korea and the Leibniz-Institute of Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), are published in the research journal Atmospheric Environment. This study is the first to investigate the optical properties of natural pollen with a laser operating at 532-nm emissionwavelength.

:: 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).

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