Climate change headlines and global warming news for April 2011

April 30 - Why all the tornadoes?
Around 600 tornadoes have hit the USA during the month of April, a record since records began being kept over 60 years ago. Is climate change the main culprit, a contributing factor or is it just a natural cycle? Read more.

April 29 - USA tornadoes kill over 300
Over 160 tornadoes touched down in the USA in a 24 hour period, killing hundreds in Alabama alone and wreaking havoc from Texas to New York. Worst hit was the Alabama town of Tuscaloosa, where the scale of the destruction is said to be unimaginable. Read more.

April 28 - Biomass and emissions
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking experts to help determine how to measure the carbon footprint of using biomass in power generation. While biomass is a renewable energy source, its environmentally friendly credentials are often called into question. Read more

April 24 - Drought hits hard in Texas
The drought in Texas extends throughout most of the state and is one of the worst in recorded history. The city of Midlands has recieved less than a quarter of an inch of rain since last October and reservoirs in the region are holding as little as 2 percent of their capacity, prompting water restrictions. Read more

April 23 - Ozone layer hole and climate change
It appears the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is contributing to climate change over the entire southern hemisphere, prompting researchers to call for the consideration of ozone as well as carbon in the battle against climate change. Once considered a problem that had been resolved, scientists reporting the link say the phenomenon has played a great role in observed climate change effects to date. Read more

April 22 - Earth's recovery from prior global warming
A study into the Earth's recovery from a prehistoric global warming event when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were high has found the Earth bounced back far faster than previously thought. However, that news still isn't good for humanity as the period was still 30,000 to 40,000 years. Read more.

April 20 - EU recession reduced greenhouse gas emissions
They say it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. The EU has reported the recent recession saw greenhouse gas emissions drop by a record 7.2 percent; however, how low they'll stay as the EU recovers is another matter. Read more.

April 20 - The U.S. climate change divide widens
The already sensitive topic of climate change is becoming further polarized in the USA; not so much about whether it is occurring, but why. Instead of beliefs being based on science, it appears they are being formed by political affiliations and the party line. Republicans often point to natural causes while Democrats are more likely to believe that human activities to blame. Read more.

April 19 - Arctic coastline crumbles
The Arctic coastline is continuing to erode at a frightening rate, with some locations losing up to 30 metres of shoreline annually. Increasing temperatures and melting ice leave coastlines exposed and more vulnerable to the impact of storms and general weathering. Read more.

April 17 - Bangladesh's population vs. climate change
A fascinating look at the people of Bangladesh and how they are coping with the effects of climate change, which is reshaping the densely populated country far faster than anyone imagined would occur. Read more.

April 14 - Penguins lose out to climate change
The Antarctic's penguin population is under threat due to a reduction in krill numbers, thought to be caused by climate change and competition from other marine life. The population of Adelie and chinstrap penguins in the West Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Sea has plummeted by 50 per cent in the past three decades. Read more

April 12 - Fracking not so climate friendly
A report out of Cornell University researchers states shale gas recovered through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, will generate even more greenhouse gases than the burning of coal in the next two decades. Read more

April 11 - Australian grapes ripening earlier
A study of 44 vineyards across Australia has determined that in all but one case, grapes were ripening earlier each year due to warmer conditions, drying soils and lower crop yield. Harvest has been started eight days a decade earlier between 1985 and 2009. Read more.

April 10 - Limiting 2C temperature rise unlikely
A climate modelling study commissioned by the Canadian government has found that limiting warming to the 2 degrees Celsius target is unlikely. To achieve the goal at this stage would require reducing carbon emissions to zero immediately. A more likely scenario is 3 or 4 degrees of warming; which will bring with it major negative impact on ecosystems. Read more.

April 8 - New engine could cut emissions by 90%
A prototype gasoline engine that needs no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, fuel compression and a host of other equipment that is needed for a car engine has been developed by researchers at Michigan University. They say their Wave Disk Generator could potentially decrease auto emissions up to 90 percent. Read more

April 7 - World Bank to tighten coal power station funding
The World Bank has come under heavy criticism in recent years due to its continued funding of coal fired power generation projects; a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. That may be about to change - under new proposed guidelines only the most financially challenged countries would be eligible to receive grants or loans for building new coal-fired power stations; and only as a last resort after cleaner technologies had been found not to be feasible. Read more.

April 6 - Mangroves an important carbon sink
Aside from functioning as nurseries for marine creatures and forming a buffer against tropical storms, researchers have discovered that mangroves forests store up to four times as much carbon as other tropical forests. Mangrove forests are under serious threat, with around half of the world's mangroves having likely vanished in the last fifty years. Read more

April 5 - Kyoto Protocol gap a reality.
The UN has acknowledged there will now be a gap between the end of the Kyoto Protocol and whatever follows - "whatever" as some form of international treaty is still being decided upon. The future of Kyoto was one of the hot potatoes left dropped on the floor at last December’s climate summit in Cancún, Mexico. Read more.

April 2 - Australian carbon tax costing creates uproar
A study as to how much it would cost Australian households under a carbon tax scenario has generated great unrest in the country; however the government claims the study based its findings on old data and the design of a previous ill-fated emissions trading scheme. Read more.

April 2 - Climate change skeptics hopes dashed
A preliminary report on a study by a group funded in part by a body opposing mainstream climate change science has confirmed that land surface temperatures have indeed risen; showing a warming trend of 0.7 degrees Celsius since 1957. Read more.

April 2 - New Zealand to slash carbon emissions 50%
New Zealand has announced a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2050 and has warned the initiative would require substantial changes in New Zealand's economy over the next four decades. While the goal seems ambitious, WWF says its not enough and that the nation should be aiming for an 80% reduction. Read more.

April 2 - Australian marine life's climate change migration
The shallow seas of Australia have warmed 1.5 degrees Celsius  since the 1950s, spurring some species to migrate south to cooler waters, but also seeing some move north.15 per cent of coastal fish species in south-eastern Australia's temperate waters have migrated southwards in recent decades. Read more.

April 1 - UK greenhouse gas emissions skyrocket
A recovering economy was one of the factors that saw carbon emissions in the UK skyrocket in 2010.  Figures released from the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change showed a spike in six major greenhouse gases in 2010 of 2.8 per cent to 582 million tonnes.  Read more