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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

In the News: New Orleans, Carbon Cycle, East Antarctica, Extraterrestrial Life

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New Orleans on Obama’s radar.  Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding will remain in place.  Two Cabinet secretaries will visit New Orleans and other storm-ravaged parts of the Gulf Coast starting tomorrow: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The carbon cycle isn’t fully described by scientists.  Cracks in the Earth’s surface might release more CO2 into the atmosphere than previously thought.  If that process occurs faster than currently assumed, it would have important implications in climate models.

Scientists made an exploration of the East Antarctic continent – one of the least sampled places on Earth when it comes to climate change.  Considering the implications of the ice sheets melting, this is obviously not a good thing.  Their initial finding?  A slight warming trend in East Antarctica.  Not a cooling, as denialists have claimed for years now (incorrectly citing sparse datasets is never a good idea).  No – they found warmer conditions than they thought they would.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland constructed a computer model to create a synthetic galaxy with billions of stars and planets. They then studied how life evolved under various conditions in this virtual world, using a supercomputer to crunch the results.  In their simulation, at least 361 intelligent civilizations have emerged in the Milky Way since its creation, and as many as 38,000 may have formed.  While only a first guess with limited information, these results are exciting to think about.

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