If I understand the narrator, 75% of mature Ash trees have died in western Europe since the late 1990s. He shows how to identify Ash Dieback fungus. Ash trees are the 3rd most abundant tree in the UK after oaks and birch. The main issue is the die out will change the structure of forests. I disagree with his final analysis, which is to just shrug it off.
This might be the best video describing Arctic ice melt I’ve ever seen. It is also the scariest. The Arctic is the Earth’s air conditioner. It helps regulate temperatures around the globe in a variety of ways. Most importantly, the Arctic provides stability. Once the ice is melted, the system blows up and gets all out of wack. It impacts everything from fisheries to weather to coastal infrastructure to animal habitat. Click here to read an easy summary by WaPo for more reasons why this matters.
I’ve seen, heard, read, viewed, participated, and debated dozens and dozens of aspects of climate change. This one, this video, is one of the best explainers of how much trouble the Earth is in.
…produced by independent videographer Peter Sinclair for The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media explains what expert scientists now find to be the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice in recorded history.
“The top ocean predators in the North Pacific could lose as much as 35 percent of their habitat by the end of the century as a result of climate change, according to a study published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The analysis, conducted by a team of 11 American and Canadian researchers, took data compiled from tracking 4,300 open-ocean animals over a decade and looked at how predicted temperature changes would alter the areas they depend on for food and shelter. Some habitats could shift by as much as 600 miles while others will remain largely unchanged, the scientists found, and these changes could affect species in different ways…
At the same time, some highly mobile species such as tuna and seabirds may benefit from the changes because they will either be able to adjust more easily or have wider foraging opportunities.
The scientists identified key habitat areas by using satellite measurements of sea surface temperature and chlorophyll-a, which indicates an area’s productivity, along with migration patterns charted by the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) project. Using U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections that global temperatures could rise between 1.8 to 10.8 degrees by 2100, the researchers modeled how these changes would affect habitat.
The North Pacific Transition Zone — which marks where cold, nutrient-rich polar water comes into contact with warmer, nutrient-poor water — will shift the most dramatically, by as much as 600 miles to the north during most seasons. According to the paper, this major migration corridor, which stretches from California to Japan, could lose as much as 20 percent of its species diversity.
By contrast, the California Current, which runs along North America’s west coast, will not be affected, because the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water will continue to occur and will stay largely in place.
“It will act like a buffer to climate change,” Hazen said in an interview. “That’s a kind of saving grace to the central California environment.””
Found mainly in the Arctic Circle, Russia and Northeast Asia, the Siberian Salamander (Salamandrella keyserlingii) is a unique creature that can survive long periods of time frozen. The adult salamander is able to adapt to temperatures as low as –45 degrees Celsius by replacing the water in its blood and cells with ‘antifreeze’ chemicals, thereby protecting its tissues from damage. Other animals are known to use glucose or glycerol for protection in a similar fashion, but the exact mechanism the Siberian salamandar uses to produce its chemicals is so far unknown—but it’s highly effective. They can survive frozen for years, metres under the permafrost, and then they just casually thaw out and walk off again. Local legends claim that salamanders have revived after being frozen alongside mammoths of the Pleistocene age, but although they’ve been found 4–14 m deep in ice, it’s more likely that they just fell down cracks in more recent years. If we could discover how these creatures manage to produce antifreeze chemicals, the process could have useful applications in food storage, medical supplies, and protection of people who live or explore in the snow.
“American eels were once found in great abundance on the East Coast, often quite far inland, but dams have sealed off much of their routes and their population has plummeted. However, the good news is that some of those old dams are no longer needed and are being torn down.
In 2004 the 22-foot-high Embrey Dam on the Rappahannock River in Virginia was dismantled. Since then, American eel numbers have shot up in headwater streams nearly 100 miles away, according to research just published by the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service.
Researchers measured eels in Shenandoah National Park streams and found significant increases in numbers two years after the dam came down, with those gains accelerating since.
“Our study shows that the benefits of dam removal can extend far upstream,” Nathaniel Hitt, a USGS biologist and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “American eels have been in decline for decades and so we’re delighted to see them begin to return in abundance to their native streams.”
The study authors noted that the American eel is being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.”
Despite the fact that grizzly bears’ favorite food is in decline in part due to climate change, the DOI is working with northern states to delist the bears. Of course, there is talk of better “management” (e.g., hunting)…
As each turtle nests at Fuwairat the site is marked by the rangers with a small flag. In July, the first of the hatchlings will emerge from the hot sand and scurry down to the water. Once there they swim for a couple of days in a ‘swimming frenzy’ to get well offshore. Then they will spend several years drifting in the oceanic currents, gradually migrating towards their feeding areas. And hopefully, thanks to the efforts of Qatar’s dedicated conservation teams, one day they’ll be back.
Loggerhead turtles are tagged with new transmitters that will grow with the shell, leading to better data sets. The lead scientist of the project, Katherine Mansfield, published a great little paper describing her technique. Little is known about the first stages of young turtle life and these tags help fill a major gap in scientific knowledge.
Also, there’s a fantastic website that tracts some ocean animals, such as sharks and turtles called “Tagging of Pacific Predators” (TOPP). It’s run by a group of ocean scientists interested in better species management. Click here for more on tagging.
UPDATE: What’s the climate connection? Simply put, species will move around as temperatures change. Tropical snakes and birds, for example, are expected to move north and south, as the tropical band widens. Others, such as the polar bear and many cold weather species, don’t really have many places to go. Also, food sources probably will not follow their predators (and vice verse).
Question from A Budding Scientist:
What do tagged animals tell us about the ocean? And when you get this information, what do you do with it? How is it used?
The tracks and the way they move around the ocean tells us where the important regions are. That is places where the animals look for food. The tags on the animals also provide us with information of the temperature of the water over the range the animals dive through. These data are important in understanding climate change and other climate related oceanic processes. Here.
2010 fire-climate paper shows strong East-West difference in fire trends in 21st Century. (West burns.) Temperature to become prime driver of fire. Abstract:
Recent bursts in the incidence of large wildfires worldwide have raised concerns about the influence climate change and humans might have on future fire activity. Comparatively little is known, however, about the relative importance of these factors in shaping global fire history. Here we use fire and climate modeling, com- bined with land cover and population estimates, to gain a better understanding of the forces driving global fire trends. Our model successfully reproduces global fire activity record over the last millennium and reveals distinct regimes in global fire behavior. We find that during the preindustrial period, the global fire regime was strongly driven by precipitation (rather than temperature), shifting to an anthropogenic-driven regime with the Industrial Revolution. Our future projections indicate an impending shift to a temperature-driven global fire regime in the 21st century, creating an unprecedentedly fire-prone environment. These results suggest a possibility that in the future climate will play a consider- ably stronger role in driving global fire trends, outweighing direct human influence on fire (both ignition and suppression), a reversal from the situation during the last two centuries.
In 2011, Republicans voted 39 times to weaken protection of public lands and wildlife, including votes to halt reviews of public lands for possible wilderness designations and to remove protections for salmon, wolves, sea turtles, and other species.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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