Category Archives: Climate Change

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Did Humans Make The Sahara A Desert?

The story that emerged suggests that as communities of people spread, they changed the landscape to accommodate crops and livestock, causing an exchange in plant species that covered the ground for specimens that exposed the soil. As sunlight bounced from the brighter soil, it warmed the air, building a feedback loop that shifted the atmospheric conditions enough to reduce the frequent monsoon rains and benefit scrub vegetation over grasslands until rainfall virtually vanished, leaving only a scattering of hardy desert plants. (Click on title for full story.)

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Are Tree Trunks Contributing To Global Climate Change? (WHAT?)

Methane is about 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide, with some estimates as high as 33 times stronger due to its effects when it is in the atmosphere. Because of methane’s global warming potential, identifying the sources and “sinks” or storehouses of this greenhouse gas is critical for measuring and understanding its implications across ecosystems. Upland forest soils usually take up and store methane, but this effect can be counteracted by methane emissions from tree trunks, (Click on title for full story.)

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More Than A Carbon Sink: Forests Necessary For Moderating Temperatures

While forests often absorb more solar radiation than grasslands or croplands, they also put more moisture into the air and promote more mixing of the air near the surface than those shorter types of vegetation. “What we are finding is that these mechanisms are often more important, even in some of the higher-latitude regions, where surface light reflection has been given more weight,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Will Re-Creating Ice Age Landscapes Slow Climate Change? Welcome To Pleistocene Park.

If this intercontinental ice block warms too quickly, its thawing will send as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere each year as do all of America’s SUVs, airliners, container ships, factories, and coal-burning plants combined. It could throw the planet’s climate into a calamitous feedback loop, in which faster heating begets faster melting. “Pleistocene Park is meant to slow the thawing of the permafrost,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Coastal Wetlands Uniquely Valuable To Slow Climate Change

All told, coastal wetlands may capture and store more than 200 metric tons of carbon per year globally. Importantly, these ecosystems store 50-90 percent of this carbon in soils, where it can stay for thousands of years if left undisturbed. “When we destroy coastal wetlands, for coastal development or aquaculture, we turn these impressive natural carbon sinks into additional, significant human-caused greenhouse gas sources,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Longest-lived Tree Species Defends Itself Against Deadly Pine Beetle

Great Basin bristlecone pine has the longest lifespan of any non-clonal organism worldwide. We found that mountain pine beetle, a native insect which has killed millions of pine trees in the past decade, is not attracted to Great Basin bristlecone pine. (Click on title for full story.)

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Climate Change Demands A New Understanding Of Endangered Plant Species

Few studies have incorporated palaeoecological data into projections of future distributions. Here we project changes in abundance and conservation status under a climate warming scenario for 187 European and North American plant taxa using niche-based models calibrated against taxa–climate relationships for the past 21,000 years. We find that incorporating long-term data into niche-based models increases the magnitude of projected future changes for plant abundances and community turnover. (Click on title for full story.)

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To Mitigate Climate Change Effects On Coffee Crops, Farmers Seek Matchmaker’s Help

Coffee crops are incredibly sensitive to temperature changes. Increasing temperatures world-wide could make it difficult to grow coffee in Brazil. Farmers have tried to lower the temperature for coffee plants by intercropping them with shade trees. But so far, they haven’t been very successful. The trees provided too much shade and competed with the coffee plants for nutrients. The farmers lost money because they didn’t produce as much coffee. Researchers needed to find the right type of shade tree to make intercropping work. So the intercropping matchmakers stepped in. (Click on title for full story.)

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As Climate Change Forces Marine Life To Relocate, Kelp Forests Suffer

As a result of climate change, warm-water fish species are shifting their range and invading temperate areas. Our results show that over-grazing by these fish can have a profound impact, leading to kelp deforestation and barren reefs. This is the first study demonstrating that the effects of warming in kelp forests are two-fold: higher temperatures not only have a direct impact on seaweeds, they also have an indirect impact by increasing the appetite of fish consumers, which can devour these seaweeds to the point of completely denuding the ocean floor. Increases in the number of plant-eating fish because of warming poses a significant threat to kelp-dependent ecosystems both in Australia and around the globe ((Click on title for full story.)

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Experience Climate Change As Music

With data sonification, you can handle a lot more dimensions if you’re listening to data than looking at it, It’s useful for scientists on the one hand but on the other hand, the fact that you can take something like the data from 2,000 trees in Alaska and give someone a 20-second description of what that song is portraying and they pick it up (means) it has huge potential to share these narratives with people. (Click on title for full story.)