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climate-change

Northeast US temperatures are decades ahead of global average

AMHERST, Mass. – Results of a new study by researchers at the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggest that temperatures across the northeastern United States will increase much faster than the global average, so that the 2-degrees Celsius warming target adopted in the recent Paris Agreement on climate change will be reached about 20 years earlier for this part of the U.S. compared to the world as a whole.

Could Rudolph and friends help to slow down our warming climate?

Reindeer may be best known for pulling Santa’s sleigh, but a new study suggests they may have a part to play in slowing down climate change too.A team of researchers, writing in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that when reindeer reduce the height and abundance of shrubs on the Arctic tundra through grazing, the level of surface albedo – the amount of solar energy (shortwave radiation) reflected by the Earth back into space – is increased. 

With Climate Change, Not All Wildlife Population Shifts Are Predictable

Wildlife ecologists who study the effects of climate change assume, with support from several studies, that warming temperatures caused by climate change are forcing animals to move either northward or upslope on mountainsides to stay within their natural climate conditions.But a new study of lowland and higher-mountain bird species by wildlife ecologists Bill DeLuca and David King at the University of Massachusetts Amherst now reports an unexpected and “unprecedented” inconsistency in such shifts. The majority of the mountain bird community responded against expectation and shifted downslope despite warming trends in the mountains. They say the result “highlights the need for caution when applying conventional expectations to species’ responses to climate change.”

A Major Ocean Current is Widening as Climate Warms

A new study by University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers found that the Indian Ocean’s Agulhas Current is getting wider rather than strengthening. The findings, which have important implications for global climate change, suggest that intensifying winds in the region may be increasing the turbulence of the current, rather than increasing its flow rate.

5 Species Most Likely to Survive a Climate Change Disaster

Survival of the fittest. This basic tenet of evolution explains why the dodo bird no longer exists and why humans have opposable thumbs.Adaptation is key to survival, no matter how many fingers you’ve got. The ability to adjust to whatever conditions Mother Earth sends our way determines whether obstacles lead to extinction or to a new generation.Human-accelerated climate change is a disaster waiting to happen. We’ve already seen the superstorms and drought it can create. Although we can work to slow climate change, there’s no way to stop it completely. This reality means adaptation will once again become the most important strategy for survival.One thing’s for sure: the Earth will continue to exist as it has for eons. The question is, what will be left behind to inhabit it?Below are five species known for their resilience and ability to survive in adverse conditions. They are the most likely to survive a climate change disaster. Spoiler: humans don’t make the list

Mapping the health threat of wildfires under climate change in US West

A surge in major wildfire events in the U.S. West as a consequence of climate change will expose tens of millions of Americans to high levels of air pollution in the coming decades, according to a new Yale-led study conducted with collaborators from Harvard.The researchers estimated air pollution from past and projected future wildfires in 561 western counties, and found that by mid-century more than 82 million people will experience “smoke waves,” or consecutive days with high air pollution related to fires.The regions likely to receive the highest exposure to wildfire smoke in the future include northern California, western Oregon, and the Great Plains.

Frogs that can take the heat expected to fare better in a changing world

Amphibians that tolerate higher temperatures are likely to fare better in a world affected by climate change, disease and habitat loss, according to two recent studies from the University of California, Davis.Frogs are disappearing globally, and the studies examine why some survive while others perish. The studies reveal that thermal tolerance — the ability to withstand higher temperatures — may be a key trait in predicting amphibian declines.HEAT-TOLERANT FROGS ESCAPE DEADLY FUNGUSOne of the world's deadliest wildlife pandemics is caused by a fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd. The fungus is linked to several amphibian extinctions and global declines.

UN Climate negotiations update – how to raise and allocate $100 billion

The UN intersessional negotiations on climate change (UNFCCC) which started in Bonn last week enter their second week with the big question – how to find and allocate by 2020 the $100bn as agreed in the Paris Agreement. Delegate Pavlos Georgiadis reports.The burning question for week two of these negotiations is how to raise and allocate the $100bn agreed as part of the Paris AgreementThe first week of the negotiations started slowly, and ended even slower. Negotiators look like they still have some sort of bad hangover, thanks to the fact they are still celebrating the Paris agreement. And while discussions take place inside the UN building in Bonn, Sri Lanka tries to recover from the worst floods in its history, India reports the hottest day every recorded in the countryand Carbon Brief warn that we only have five years until the 1,5°C carbon budget is blown.

The Paris climate accord looks promising

The climate talks that concluded last December were a great success, but it will be decades before we can judge whether the Paris Agreement itself is ultimately successful. What can be said is that the accord provides a good foundation for meaningful progress on climate change, and represents a dramatic departure from the past 20 years of climate negotiations.I have long viewed the dichotomous distinction between Annex I and non–Annex I countries in the Kyoto Protocol as the major stumbling block to progress. The protocol included mandatory emissions-reduction obligations for developed countries, but none for developing countries. That made progress impossible, because significant growth in emissions since the protocol came into force in 2005 has been entirely in the large developing countries — China, India, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Mexico, and Indonesia. 

Rising oceans may pose a bigger threat than previously assumed

Of all the impacts of climate change, one stands out for its inexorable menace, writes Pete Dolack: rising oceans. And it's not just for distant future generations to deal with: new scientific studies show that people alive today may face 6-9 metres of sea level rise flooding well over a million sq.km including many of the world's biggest cities. So where's the emergency response?There is a possibility, a real danger, that we will hand young people and future generations a climate system that is practically out of their control. We have a global emergency.When it comes to global warming, what else don't we know?