Environment

CO2 Evolution

Plants have been observed changing the way they conduct photosynthesis over the past 40 years as levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have steadily increased.

Researchers led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography found that land-based plants have adjusted to higher levels of the greenhouse gas by increasing the efficiency with which they use waterith more CO2 in the air, plants have evolved to have fewer or smaller microscopic holes that allow leaves to absorb the gas. The plants then don’t need to draw up as much water from their roots to flourish.

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Global Warming

Arctic Sea Ice

The Arctic ice cap reached its eighth-lowest extent on record at the time of year the sea ice is typically at its minimum coverage.

Scientists at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said that the sea ice had set a record for the smallest winter extent earlier this year and was on track to rival the record minimum set in 2012.

But a cloudy and cooler-than-normal August across the central Arctic slowed the seasonal melting.

“It’s not going to be a staircase heading down to zero every year,” said Ted Scambos of the NSIDC. “[But] the Arctic will continue to evolve towards less ice. There’s no dodging that.”

Lost Islands

Rising ocean levels in the South Pacific have swallowed at least eight low-lying islands in the Solomon Islands and Micronesia, where sea levels have risen by about half an inch each year since the early 1990s.

Australian researchers conducted coastal surveys, analyzed satellite data and spoke with island residents before making the conclusion. They found six of the islands went underwater between 2007 and 2014.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 116.2 degrees Fahrenheit (46.7 degrees Celsius) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 102.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 74.4 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120.2 degrees Fahrenheit (49.0 degrees Celsius) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 97.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 71.6 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Global warming threatens parasites – study

A new study out of the University of California claims that global warming caused by climate change will wipe out a third of the world’s parasites by 2070, and before you rejoice, scientists say that could have detrimental effects on the planet. Specifically, climate change would wreak havoc on tapeworms, fleas, ticks, lice, and other similar creatures, which could potentially upset the balance of the Earth’s ecosystem.

Scientists at the university spent a year analyzing 20 million parasites that were in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. Their findings indicate that no creature on Earth may be more threatened than parasites, but trying to convince the public that this is a negative will undoubtedly be a challenge.

However, what scientists know about parasites is that they control populations, keep energy moving, and do lots of other subtle things that make our planet what it is today. Losing a third of them would cause big changes to the food chain and to life in general. They help control wildlife populations and keep energy flowing through food chains.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 122.0 degrees Fahrenheit (50.0 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 101.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 73.9 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Global warming doubles growth rates of Antarctic seabed’s marine fauna – study

Marine life on the Antarctic seabed is likely to be far more affected by global warming than previously thought, say scientists who have conducted the most sophisticated study to date of heating impacts in the species-rich environment.

Growth rates of some fauna doubled – including colonising moss animals and undersea worms – following a 1C increase in temperature, making them more dominant, pushing out other species and reducing overall levels of biodiversity, according to the study published on Thursday in Current Biology.

The researchers who conducted the nine-month experiment in the Bellingshuan Sea say this could have alarming implications for marine life across the globe as temperatures rise over the coming decades as a result of manmade greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Sub-zero conditions near the south pole mean there are comparatively few species on the usually frozen land, but below the ice, the relative lack of pollution, traffic and fishing has left an abundance of marine life that divers and biologists compare to coral reefs.

Twelve identical 15cm sq heat plates were set in concrete on the seabed. Four were warmed by 1C, four by 2C and four left at ambient temperature as a control.

At 1C, a species of bryozoan moss (Fenestrulina rugula) became utterly dominant on the four plates. Within two months it reduced the evenness and diversity of the species spread. The researchers also found the marine worm Romanchella perrieri grew an average 70% larger than those under ambient conditions.

At 2C, the results from different plates varied with different growth rates of different species. The researchers speculate that this may be because the higher increase in temperature had a greater shock impact.

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Global Warming

Skrinking Caspian

Increased evaporation of the Caspian Sea over the past few decades has caused the huge central Asian lake to shrink to near the historic low set in the 1970s.

While the level of the huge body of water has fluctuated during the past several hundred years, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues from Russia, France and Azerbaijan say they expect it will continue to decline under what they describe as “global warming scenarios.”

The researchers predict that under current climate models, evaporation could cause the lake’s northern waters to vanish within 75 years.

Environment

Amazon Mining

An Amazon nature reserve created in 1984 by Brazil’s then-military government, and believed to be rich in gold and other minerals, was at least temporarily saved from being abolished.

A federal court in the capital of Brasilia blocked President Michel Temer’s decree that would have opened up about 30 percent of the area to mining.

The mining and energy ministry said that the reserve’s protected forest and areas inhabited by indigenous people in relative isolation would not have been affected.

Conservation groups and opposition politicians denounced the president’s attempt as “the biggest attack on the Amazon of the last 50 years.”

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 125.0 degrees Fahrenheit (51.7 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 111.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 79.5 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120.0 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in Al Qaysumah, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 95.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70.5 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Climate Change Is Causing Fish to Shrink

Fishermen over the past several years have noted that fish appear to be shrinking. That observation was validated in 2014 by research that found commercially important fish stocks in the North Sea, such as sole, herring, and haddock, have decreased in maximum body size over a 40-year period.

New research published in the journal Global Change Biology explains that these species and many others are ectotherms, meaning that their body temperature depends on environmental temperature.

As the oceans warm up, their bodies will do so as well. Higher temperature within the scope that the fish can tolerate generally increases the rate of biochemical reactions in the fish’s body and thus increases their body metabolic rate. Metabolic rate refers to an animal’s oxygen consumption, which also naturally increases as fish grow into adulthood because their body mass becomes larger.

One might wonder why fish and other marine ectotherms aren’t just taking in ever more oxygen to coincide with this natural growth due to maturation and the rise of ocean temperatures. They don’t because at a certain point they cannot keep up.

The researchers point out that the surface area of an animal’s gills — where oxygen is obtained — does not grow at the same pace as the rest of its body. This is because gills, in order to work, must function as a two-dimensional surface — width by height — and thus cannot grow as fast as the three-dimensional volume — width by height by depth — they have to supply with oxygen.

The reductions will be in the range of 20–30 percent if ocean temperatures continue to climb due to climate change. At the higher end of that range is one of the world’s most important commercial fish: tuna.

Tunas are active, mobile, and fast-swimming animals that need a lot of oxygen to maintain their lifestyle. They have to keep swimming non-stop in order to get more water through their gills to obtain sufficient oxygen. Thus, when temperature increases, they are particularly susceptible to not having sufficient oxygen to support their body growth.

For a 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degree Fahrenheit) increase in water temperature, which is approximately what is expected to occur in oceans around the world by the mid-21st century, tunas such as the Atlantic bluefin tuna will potentially decrease in body size by 30 percent.

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Global Warming

Russia says it halted global warming for one year

Russia has reduced the quantity of emitted greenhouse gases by almost 50% since 1990, which has slowed down the global warming for one year, CEO of the Center for Energy Efficiency Igor Bashmakov said on Friday at the Climate Forum of the Russian Cities.

“We have considerably reduced the volume of emissions, almost by one half, and then held on to this level,” Bashmakov said. “If we in Russia preserved the level of the 1990 emissions, we would have emitted by 41 bln tonnes of equivalent more by this time, which is close to what all global sources emit. That is, Russia has actually suspended the global warming for a whole year on its own, and it has a considerable result.”

In October 2004, Russia undertook the obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Russia also signed the Paris climate accord in 2016.

Global Warming

Alaska’s Grizzly Bears Drop Salmon for Berries as Climate Changes

When Kodiak Island’s elderberries started ripening earlier, its icon bears changed their diet. It’s another ecological shift amid climate change, scientists say.

Each summer, the shallow freshwater streams of Kodiak Island, Alaska, are so thick with sockeye salmon, you literally cannot cross the waterways without stepping on the brightly colored fish. With the salmon come brown bears, often dozens of grizzlies per stream, hauling the fish onto nearby banks for an easy meal.

During an unusually warm summer in 2014, however, no bears could be found. At the peak of the annual salmon run, as the fish made their way upstream to spawn, the roughly 1,000-pound bears were busy feasting on berries instead, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A similar phenomenon is believed to have also occurred in 2016, after the study period ended, but the bears were not closely monitored to confirm their feeding behavior.

Biologists who study Alaska’s iconic omnivores say changes in seasonal phenomenon caused by a warming planet were behind the bears’ unusual behavior, which could affect the entire ecosystem.

Different species are responding to climate change in different ways, “so what you have is a scrambling of the schedule,” said William Deacy, a biologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis and lead author of the study.

The island’s brown bears typically feed first on salmon, followed by elderberries later in the season. An earlier-than-usual ripening of red elderberries, however, forced the bears to make a choice.

Kodiak bear Lisa Hupp USFWS

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 121.0 degrees Fahrenheit (49.4 degrees Celsius) in Al Qaysumah, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 103.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 75.0 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.