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Mary Ellen Harte

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Climate Change This Week: Vanishing Hawaiian Beaches, Mexican Wind Boom and More

Posted: 05/21/2012 3:50 pm

Aloha to aloha land: Hawaii's beaches are going bye-bye, says the US Geological Service, reports Cornelia Dean at the New York Times. About 10% have vanished over the past century, and rising sea levels from climate change are likely to hasten the process, making it truly a loha land (Sorry, folks, I couldn't resist...)

What happens when you build up deadwood by suppressing fires in Canada's boreal forest and couple it with climate change, which has made the forests drier and created longer, warmer, drier seasons? Disastrous wildfires like the one that burned up much of the town Slave Lake in 2011. Expect more, scientists are now saying, reports Graham Thomson at Postmedia News.

There's money in them thar winds: Mexico is going through a wind energy boom, especially on its southern isthmus, which acts as a natural wind tunnel between the oceans, reports David Garcia at Reuters News. By 2020, the country expects to supply 15% of its electricity via the wind.

Hot times in the US: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that from May 2011 to April 2012, the US just experienced its hottest year since recording began in 1895, reports Matt Pearce at the LA Times. Indeed, we haven't had a month cooler than the 20th century national average temperature since February... 1985.

The Perfect Flood: Scientists now say that climate change helped create the disastrous flood that covered 1.3 million square kilometers -- most of Queensland, Australia -- in late 2010 and into 2011. Warmer ocean surface temperatures from global warming boosted the record rain, combined with a strong La Nina weather cycle, and tropical cyclone Tasha, reports Nikki Phillips at the Melbourne Age.

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded when I photographed these baby robins recently. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a clean, safe future. If you'd like to tell Congress that you support clean energy and will vote for clean energy candidates, join the increasing numbers of people doing so here. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and texts are freely available.

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