exlegelibertas asked: I read another article this morning about hive disruption syndrome and about bee-dieoffs in general. The article framed the issue in a wider context of a 'sixth extinction.' As a layman I'm generally sold on these theories, despite their grim outlook. Assuming (as I do) that they're probably the result of anthropogenic climate change, what do you think the proper adaptation methods will be, considering the necessity of honeybees in pollinating most crops around the world?
Great question and I did a little research for you (learned a lot, so thanks!).
The so-called “sixth extinction” theory has been around for a while. I’d avoid reading about it, since it’s all doom. Still, adaptation strategies for bees and other pollinators are only now being taken seriously.
Keep in mind that environmentalism is ‘stewardship’ - it requires long-term thinking, far beyond your life-time. Solutions take time and decades of research and testing. So, managing impacts are part of a long transition…
Most adaptation strategies and responses are part of bigger plans that deal with ecosystems and agriculture, so they’re more likely to be a chapter in larger documents. Here a few resources:
NASA (yes, NASA) has HoneyBeeNet, a project on climate change impacts on honeybees and ag. Excellent overview of the issue, but short on strategies. Well worth a skim (and fun to see the connection between NASA science, climate, and bees!).
This list of 30 issues that the independent Govt Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed is mind-boggling. The U.S. Federal Government, says the GAO, is embarrassingly underprepared to deal with the volume and increasing frequency of climate related disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, droughts in the southwest, super tornadoes in Oklahoma, etc. They conclude(!) that funding for disaster response and post-disaster planning is completely inadequate and in need of an overhaul.
(The satellite) systems are critical to weather forecasters, climatologists, and the military to map and monitor changes in weather, climate, the oceans, and the environment.
Federal agencies are currently planning and executing major satellite acquisition programs to replace existing polar and geostationary satellite systems that are nearing the end of their expected life spans. However, these programs have troubled legacies of cost increases, missed milestones, technical problems, and management challenges that have resulted in reduced functionality and slips to planned launch dates. As a result, the continuity of satellite data is at risk.
The GAO’s High Risk Report is absolutely worth clicking through. Each of the 30 items are categorized and easy to read. The two above on climate and satellites also include video summaries.
If you are wandering around Greenland’s ice sheet and you run into this crazy thing, it is NASA’s GROVER (government acronym for something Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research). It is solar powered and it crawls around Greenland on its own and uses ground-penetrating radar to look at ice. And it’s cool.
NASA robot explores ice in Greenland. Video. Will explore for months at a time via remote. Possibly prototype to explore other planets.
The fire maps show the locations of actively burning fires around the world on a monthly basis, based on observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The colors are based on a count of the number (not size) of fires observed within a 1,000-square-kilometer area. White pixels show the high end of the count —as many as 100 fires in a 1,000-square-kilometer area per day. Yellow pixels show as many as 10 fires, orange shows as many as 5 fires, and red areas as few as 1 fire per day. Via EO NASA
Cruise over glaciers in Greenland. Researchers use aerial footage for data collection and monitoring.
Few of us ever get to see Greenland’s glaciers from 500 meters above the ice. But in this video — recorded on April 9,2013 in southeast Greenland using a cockpit camera installed and operated by the National Suborbital Education and Research Center, or NSERC — we see what Operation IceBridge’s pilots see as they fly NASA’s P-3B airborne laboratory low over the Arctic.
Following a glacier’s sometimes winding flow line gives IceBridge researchers a perspective on the ice not possible from satellites which pass in straight lines overhead. By gathering such data, IceBridge is helping to build a continuous record of change in the polar regions.
temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982.
“Higher northern latitudes are getting warmer, Arctic sea ice and the duration of snow cover are diminishing, the growing season is getting longer and plants are growing more,” said Ranga Myneni of Boston University’s Department of Earth and Environment. “In the north’s Arctic and boreal areas, the characteristics of the seasons are changing, leading to great disruptions for plants and related ecosystems.”
Image: Of the 10 million square miles (26 million square kilometers) of northern vegetated lands, 34 to 41 percent showed increases in plant growth (green and blue), 3 to 5 percent showed decreases in plant growth (orange and red), and 51 to 62 percent showed no changes (yellow) over the past 30 years. Satellite data in this visualization are from the AVHRR and MODIS instruments, which contribute to a vegetation index that allows researchers to track changes in plant growth over large areas.
Soon, governments and citizens alike will be able to spot illegal loggers from space. A new tool called Global Forest Watch 2.0 will give anyone with a computer or smartphone the ability to zoom in on forests around the world and spy on illegal cutting operations in near-real time.
“Global Forest Watch 2.0 aims to transform access to information about what’s happening to forests everywhere around the globe,” says Nigel Sizer, the director of the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Initiative in Washington, D.C. “The platform allows people to see those numbers—how much clearing is done year by year in oil concessions in Indonesia, for example, or by a cattle ranch in the Brazilian Amazon—without involving training in technology or science.”
The open-access online monitoring platform, which will include two major data sets when it launches in the first half of 2013, combines satellite technology, data sharing and social networks to combat deforestation.
The first dataset, provided by the NASA MODIS system, is updated every 16 days. Over that same period, algorithms compute the likelihood that any given 250-square-meter patch of forest has been cleared based upon the remote-sensing imagery. Higher spatial resolution data, provided by the University of Maryland, will be added annually. The platform relies upon cloud computing for storing the massive datasets involved in visualizing and processing the maps.
NASA and the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have released the first images from the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite, which was launched Feb. 11.
The natural-color images show the intersection of the United States Great Plains and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado. In the images, green coniferous forests in the mountains stretch down to the brown plains with Denver and other cities strung south to north.
LDCM acquired the images at about 1:40 p.m. EDT March 18. The satellite’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments observed the scene simultaneously. The USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., processed the data.
LDCM is the eighth in the Landsat series of satellites that have been continuously observing Earth’s land surfaces since 1972.