Sunday, March 11, 2012

New and Noteworthy (Climate Change, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Space Review)

In today's edition:

* Two pieces in the New Scientist on rarely considered, but potentially catastrophic, aspects of global warming. The first, by Fred Pearce, concerns geologist Bill McGuire's new book, Waking the Giant, which makes the case that climate change, by melting ice sheets and raising sea levels, may lead to intensified geological instability in the form of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. The second, by Michael Marshall, concerns ocean acidification, which may be happening more quickly now than at any time in the last 300 million years. (Those unfamiliar with the potential significance of that event would do well to check out Peter Ward's book Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future.)

* Two pieces in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The first is a detailed estimate of the Russian nuclear arsenal by Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris of the Federation of American Scientists. The second, by Charles P. Blair, considers the risks that a Syrian civil war poses for international security given the country's WMD program.

* Finally, in the Space Review, Dwayne Day on the use of satellites to detect and study underground facilities (such as those thought to play a role in the international stand-off over Iran's nuclear program).

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