Evolution

Too Little CO2 To End Life On Earth

It is no surprise to anyone who has studied the history of our planet and the life it harbors that CO2 levels have been falling for billions of years. Despite all the hoopla over rising CO2 levels, eventually Earth will have lost so much carbon dioxide from its atmosphere that plants and trees will suffocate, signaling an end to life as we know it. Now, a team of scientists from the California Institute of Technology, led by physicist King-Fai Li, have proposed a way to avert disaster—get rid of much of the atmosphere.

African Dust Heats Up Atlantic Tropics

The evidence is in, observations and models show that northern tropical Atlantic surface temperatures are sensitive to dust blowing in from North Africa. Regional changes in stratospheric volcanic and tropospheric mineral aerosols (i.e. dust) are responsible for 69% of the upward trend in temperatures over the last 30 years. Once again a new factor has been discovered that is not accounted for in general circulation models (GCM) used to predict global warming—and once again the importance of CO2 is diminished.

What Catastrophe Awaits?

It was announced at the end of October that Walter Alvarez won the Vetlesen Prize—geology's closest equivalent to a Noble Prize. Alvarez, along with his father, Nobel Prize wining physicist Luis Alvarez, proposed the Chicxulub impact, now enshrined in textbooks and the public mind as the “asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.” The prize was not for finding evidence of that event, which marked the end of the Cretaceous period, but for the larger impact of that discovery on geology as a science.

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