A 12-year plan to move hundreds of millions of rural residents into cities is intended to spur economic growth, but could have unintended consequences, skeptics warn.
One of the Pentagon’s top strategists said climate change is fundamentally altering how the Defense Department (DOD) evaluates future conflict areas. Daniel Chiu, the deputy assistant secretary of DOD strategy, said climate change has the Pentagon thinking about impacts on global food and water scarcity, mass migration and the potential for those issues to ignite clashes around the world.
Could one of life’s simple pleasures, the apple, be endangered by changes in our climate?
It could, according to some experts, who maintain that apples, like other fruit, depend heavily on a certain amount of what is called “winter chill,” before they bloom in the spring.
“If there’s not enough winter chill that happens in a certain year there can be anywhere from a decreased production of fruit to a complete crop failure,” says Evan Girvetz, the senior scientist on climate change for the non-profit Nature Conservancy.
If that were to happen, it would be troubling news for the state’s apple industry, which according to the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program is the fourth biggest apple producer in the country.
As the climate warms, plant species that prefer a colder environment are disappearing from the mountain ranges of Southern Europe. Since many of these species have small distribution areas, they are now threatened with extinction, according to two new studies from European researchers.
"These species have migrated upwards, but sooner or later the mountain reaches its summit," said researcher and biologist Ulf Molau at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg. "Many alpine plant species are disappearing from mountain ranges in Southern Europe, and for some of them - those that are only found in a single mountain range - the outlook is extremely bleak."
Over a period of 10 years, researchers around Europe have gathered samples from 13 different mountain regions.
Using digital technology and intensive on-site field work, they have been able to study a grid pattern of square meters, selected on different high mountain summits, from the treeline up to the highest peaks.
The digital photographs provide a detailed picture of which species have disappeared between 2001 and the present day.
"Every research square is digitally photographed so that we can find our way back to the exact same position after 10 years or more, with centimeter precision," said Professor Molau. "By rolling out an analysis network, small 10 x 10 cm squares can be re-mapped."
Today, the researchers are able to observe that species are migrating upwards and that the variety of species in Southern European mountain regions has declined during the 10 years in which samples have been taken.
"This finding confirms the hypothesis that a rise in temperatures drives Alpine flora to migrate upwards. As a result, rival species are threatened by competitors, which are migrating to higher altitudes. These changes pose a threat to high-mountain ecosystems in the long and medium term," the authors state.
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"Some birds are adjusting their migration patterns and adapting to climate change better than others, researchers found.
A study of bird flight patterns found that while some shift their migration as much as six days earlier in warmer weather, others are keeping the same habits, according to a report in the Public Library of Science.
Birds that aren’t adapting, like the Barn Swallow, could be threatened if the crop of insects they feed on aren’t available at the same time, for example, said Allen Hurlbert, the lead author, in a telephone interview.
Hurlbert’s study of 18 bird species is the first to examine the entire Eastern United States, he said. It’s also unique in using citizen bird watching data from more than 50,000 people logging into eBird, an online site created in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audobon Society.
On average, the birds shifted their migration almost a day earlier for every Celsius degree of warming spring temperature. Species that fail could be eliminated through natural selection.”
Anote Tong - President of Pacific island nation Kiribati, on the rising sea levels that are threatening his homeland and could force the entire nation to relocate to Fiji.
Climate change … it’s happening.