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Gender: Male
Hometown: Pennsylvania
Home country: Usa
Member since: Fri Jun 30, 2006, 06:47 PM
Number of posts: 8,359

Journal Archives

From not having kids to battling anxiety: Climate change is shaping life choices (USA Today)

For some, ignoring climate change is not an option. It’s real, and preventing global warming from getting worse is a driving force in their lives.

Elizabeth Lawrence and Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY
7:00 a.m. EDT Aug. 14, 2019

...As global warming – the gradual increase in temperature of the Earth's atmosphere –accelerates, people are grappling with the idea that disastrous conditions may appear as soon as 2040. The reality of this potentially existential crisis greatly impacts the way some people, especially those who have dedicated their lives to stopping climate change, make life decisions – whether that’s going vegan, living in a certain part of the country or deciding against having children. It even impacts their mental health.

...Psychotherapist, ecotherapist and author Linda Buzzell who is from Santa Barbara, California, has struggled with "eco-anxiety" herself. "I think it's beginning to dawn on us that we're not going to be here very long if our habitat is basically killed off and dying," she said.

The first thing Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, did was start riding her bike to work. Then she replaced her light bulbs, her sister’s light bulbs and her parents’ light bulbs with LEDs. Her next step was reducing the flying she did by 35%. She also calls herself an aspiring vegan.

“After 2016, which brought the heat-related death of much of the coral reef I’ve worked at for 20 years and then the election of this administration, I kind of had to find another gear of climate engagement,” Cobb said. Cobb said she’s usually met with amazement when telling people about her lifestyle changes. She’s one of the few people in her neighborhood with solar panels on her roof, whose expenses have left her husband “with his jaw on the floor,” she said. Cobb noted the government doesn’t make it easy for people to lead more climate friendly lives.

It is a long read.
Article focuses on young people who are fighting for the good fight.
Posted by bronxiteforever | Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:45 AM (1 replies)

New study: Fracking prompts global spike in atmospheric methane

Eureka/American Association for the Advancement of Science

New study: Fracking prompts global spike in atmospheric methane

As methane concentrations increase in the Earth's atmosphere, chemical fingerprints point to a probable source: shale oil and gas, according to new Cornell University research published today (14 August) in Biogeosciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union. The research suggests that this methane has less carbon-13 relative to carbon-12 (denoting the weight of the carbon atom at the centre of the methane molecule) than does methane from conventional natural gas and other fossil fuels such as coal.

...While atmospheric methane concentrations have been rising since 2008, the carbon composition of the methane has also changed. Methane from biological sources such as cows and wetlands have a low carbon-13 content - compared to methane from most fossil fuels. Previous studies erroneously concluded that biological sources are the cause of the rising methane, Howarth said.

Carbon dioxide and methane are critical greenhouse gases, but they behave quite differently in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emitted today will influence the climate for centuries to come, as the climate responds slowly to decreasing amounts of the gas.

Unlike its slow response to carbon dioxide, the atmosphere responds quickly to changes in methane emissions. "Reducing methane now can provide an instant way to slow global warming and meet the United Nations' target of keeping the planet well below a 2-degree Celsius average rise," Howarth said, referring to the 2015 Paris Agreement that boosts the global response to climate change threats.

More here (short article)

Posted by bronxiteforever | Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:12 AM (0 replies)

The Plight of the Monarchs: Trump Order Weakens Protections

wttw Public Radio
Associated Press |
August 13, 2019 7:56 pm

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — ...Monarchs are in trouble, despite efforts by Moore and countless other volunteers and organizations across the United States to nurture the beloved butterfly. The Trump administration’s new order weakening the Endangered Species Act could well make things worse for the monarch, one of more than 1 million species that are struggling around the globe.

...The administration will for the first time reserve the option to estimate and publicize the financial cost of saving a species in advance of any decision on whether to do so. Monarchs compete for habitat with soybean and corn farmers, whose crops are valued in the low tens of billions of dollars annually. For mountain caribou, sage grouse, the Humboldt marten in California’s old-growth redwoods and other creatures, it’s logging, oil and gas development, ranching, and other industry driving struggling species out of their ranges.

Some animals — like a shy mountain caribou species that went extinct from the wild in the lower 48 states last winter, despite protection under the Endangered Species Act — struggle and disappear out of sight. Monarchs can serve as reminders of the others, says Karen Oberhauser, director of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, and a conservation biologist who has studied monarchs since 1984. That was before a boom in soybeans, corn and herbicide wiped out milkweed in pastures converted to row crops.

In the U.S. West, where monarchs spend the winter rather than migrate to Mexico, their numbers have plummeted from 4.5 million in the 1980s to fewer than 30,000 last winter.Tierra Curry, an Oregon-based senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity conservation advocacy group, said because the monarch was once so common, most people her age — early 40s — believe “there’s no way monarchs can be endangered.” But for her 14-year-old son, it’s already almost a post-monarch world. Despite the more than a dozen milkweed plants that the family plants in their yard, “we haven’t seen one yet,” she said.


Posted by bronxiteforever | Tue Aug 13, 2019, 08:20 PM (4 replies)

The Desperate Race to Neutralize a Lethal Superbug Yeast

August 13,2019

Candida auris, the potentially deadly “superbug yeast” that has alarmed health authorities around the world...as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailed in a recent case report. That super-yeast has wreaked havoc...where it has spread explosively in hospitals, infecting surgical wounds, brewing whole-body bloodstream infections, and clinging to every surface that investigators have thought to check...Worst of all, the super-yeast emerged already resistant to the limited drugs available to treat fungal infections...there have been more than 700 cases in the US. C. auris has been diagnosed in patients in more than 30 countries on six continents, and when investigators talk about it, they use ominous phrases such as “pandemic potential.”

C. auris...was suddenly simply present, in multiple places at once.The most provocative hypothesis for the emergence of C. auris, however, is also the most discouraging, because it traces the yeast’s emergence to a problem that humans have been unwilling to control. In this telling, captured in another paper published last month, the super-yeast is a disease of the Anthropocene. It is flourishing because human-caused climate change has given it a boost.

That thinking goes like this: There are possibly millions of species of fungi in the world, yet relatively few of them succeed in attacking humans. What protects us from them is our warmth: At 37 degrees Celsius (or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), we are hotter than what most fungi can survive. But if something encouraged fungi to tolerate higher temperatures, more of them could become a threat to us—and the slow heating of the planet may be creating the perfect laboratory in which fungi can adapt. “There is no better explanation for the simultaneous emergence of Candida auris than that, with the globe warming, some strains have adapted and are now able to survive in humans,” says Arturo Casadevall, one of the paper’s authors, who is a physician and the chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

I can’t do this article justice. Read the whole story here.


Posted by bronxiteforever | Tue Aug 13, 2019, 08:44 AM (2 replies)

West Antarctica is melting--and it's our fault (National Geographic)

The fingerprints of human-caused climate change have made it to Antarctica, a new study shows
5 MINUTE READ/ National Geographic

THE TOWERING GLACIERS of West Antarctica hold the fate of the world’s coasts in their flanks. Their collapse could send sea levels up by at least a foot by 2100—and potentially much more.

...a team has unraveled evidence of that human influence. In a study published Monday in Nature Geoscience, a team of scientists showed that over the past century, human-driven global warming has changed the character of the winds that blow over the ocean near some of the most fragile glaciers in West Antarctica. Sometimes, those winds have weakened or reversed, which in turn causes changes in the ocean water that laps up against the ice in a way that caused the glaciers to melt.

The massive West Antarctic ice sheet holds something like 6 percent of the world’s fresh water frozen in its guts. If it all melted away, global sea levels would rise by about 10 feet or more. That’s not likely to happen anytime particularly soon, scientists think, but some parts of the ice sheet are particularly vulnerable, in danger of crossing a crucial “tipping point” if they retreat too far. (Read about the "tipping point" here).

In the past decades, some glaciers in the region have been retreating shockingly quickly. Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glaciers, for example, are losing about 100 billion tons of ice each year, and more in bad years.

More here. Short and valuable read


Posted by bronxiteforever | Mon Aug 12, 2019, 08:32 PM (0 replies)

Saving the Arctic's 'Last Ice Area' Is a Race Against Time

Canada has moved to protect the region, where Arctic wildlife is expected to make its last stand against climate change. Scientists say it's not enough.
Vice (Motherboard )
By Becky Ferreira
Aug 12 2019, 9:00am

...most of the North Pole’s year-round sea ice will be lost by the end of this century—save for one final refuge known as the “Last Ice Area.” Arctic animals that are dependent on sea ice are expected to make a last stand in this region, which is why the Canadian government recently granted protected status to large portions of it.

This narrow band of thick ice encompasses about a million square kilometers flanking the Northern coasts of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The Canadian branch of the World Wildlife Fund coined its popular name, but the general contours of the area were first defined in 2010 by a team of scientists that included Stephanie Pfirman, an expert in Arctic sea ice dynamics at Arizona State University. “The wind and ocean currents transport ice across the Arctic to this region, so by the time it accumulates here, it is old and ridged and therefore thicker than ice in other regions,” Pfirman explained in an email. “This means that it takes longer to melt.”

The results of a “business as usual” scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate will be much more dire, however, according to the models. “Under the ‘business as usual’ assumption, you do eventually lose even the Last Ice Area”... It is a bleak contrast in possible futures for this polar haven. As the Arctic warms over the coming decades, animals that depend on the sea ice habitat—such as polar bears, walruses, and eiders—will retreat to the Last Ice Area’s borders to survive. Nobody knows how well they will fare within its confines...“It is a race against time—we will need more than just switching away from carbon-based energy sources, we also need to sequester carbon in order to quickly slow the warming,” she noted. “Otherwise the last ice will be lost in summer along with the devastation of the ice-dependent ecosystem that we're trying to protect.”

Posted by bronxiteforever | Mon Aug 12, 2019, 08:51 AM (3 replies)

Rapid, high ocean temperature spikes occurring at double the expected rate

Rapid, high ocean temperature spikes occurring at double the expected rate affecting marine ecosystems and humans
The researchers, who identified these extreme ocean temperature "surprises" all over the world, say it affects diversity and productivity of marine ecosystems.
By Mihika Basu
Published on : 11:44 PST, Aug 11, 2019

The research team led by Dr. Andrew Pershing, Chief Scientific Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute...examined 65 large marine ecosystems from 1854-2018. The world’s oceans are divided into large marine ecosystems. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), such ecosystems “covering large swaths of the world’s coast” have some of its richest marine biodiversity and provide goods and services to billions of people worth over $12 trillion each year.

The researchers found that the number of "surprising" warming events across the large marine ecosystems increased with global warming, especially after 1998. While the researchers expected that about six or seven of 65 ecosystems examined would experience these “surprises" each year,” they instead found an average of 12 ecosystems experiencing these warming events each year, over the past seven years. This includes a high of 23 "surprises" in 2016, says the team. In his previous research, Dr. Pershing had identified the Gulf of Maine as one of the most rapidly warming ecosystems in the global ocean.

The team predicts that surprising temperatures are likely to reduce the diversity and productivity of marine ecosystems. ... in ecosystems that are experiencing change much faster, these natural communities are expected to suffer reductions in both biomass and diversity. “Our model of natural communities suggests that this will result in a decline in the abundance of species occupying a similar trophic niche; however, the decline will be less strongly felt by fast-reproducing species. This creates the potential for decoupling between different components of the food web. According to the researchers, humans are also significantly impacted by an increase in the number of unusually high ocean temperatures.

More here

Posted by bronxiteforever | Sun Aug 11, 2019, 04:03 PM (0 replies)

Appalachia to become Hotter Wetter AND Drier in Climate Model with Severe Economic Impacts

WVTF Public Radio

August 11,2019

A new climate projection by hydrologists at West Virginia University warns that Appalachia could become as much as 10 degrees hotter by mid-century. Working with other universities and a worldwide climate matrix, known as MACA they created scenarios for what the 4-hundred-20 counties that comprise the region could look like weather-wise.

Nicolas Zegre is director of the Mountain Hydrology Laboratory at WVU. If nothing is done to mitigate temperature rise, the study says, Appalachia is likely to become not only hotter, but wetter and drier. How can it be both? Zegre, an associate professor of forest hydrology in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and his team, just completed a study of the entire 7 state region. Here’s how they say it would happen: “As the atmosphere warms, evaporation increases so water that is in the trees, in the soil, in our crops, in wetlands lakes and rivers, evaporates more quickly.” And with all that water held in the atmosphere, when it rains it pours. “In the steep topography of the Appalachian region, what this translates to, is landslides and floods.”

...This study points out, similar climate crises, extreme weather and increased droughts are already well underway. “Climate change used to be a 100 years away, hard for the human brain to understand,” says Zegre. “But, as we open our eyes and use our bodies, (the ultimate sensors) we see that climate change is now.” These intense floods and droughts are already causing disruptions of our economic system, “so that’s the critical thing about our study and others around the globe; Climate change is exacerbating situations by introducing more variability in our water systems and with climate change comes greater variability, which makes it harder to manage any single event.”

Posted by bronxiteforever | Sun Aug 11, 2019, 11:58 AM (5 replies)

In the future, only the rich will be able to escape the unbearable heat from climate change.

In Iraq, it’s already happening.Baghdad offers a troubling glimpse into a future where only the wealthy are equipped to escape the effects of climate change, Richard Hall writes
The Independent
By Richard Hall
August 10, 2019

...United Nations report released last month warned that the world is heading for a “climate apartheid” scenario, “where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.” In Baghdad, that is already a reality. On 48C days, which are now coming earlier in the year, air conditioners are the most effective way of staying cool. But an electricity crisis in the country is putting even that essential tool out of reach to low-income families.

The crisis – caused by a combination of corruption, mismanagement and a creaking national grid – has exacerbated the country’s energy divide. The result is a huge gap between electricity supply and demand, especially in the summer. A diesel generator can be used to meet some of the shortfall, but running an air conditioner from a generator is a luxury only a few can afford.

Mahmoud Abdul Latif Hamed, a weather forecaster and manager of environment at Iraq’s Meteorological Organisation, says Iraq is experiencing extreme temperatures earlier in the year.
“In 2011, the temperature in Baghdad reached 50 degrees in August. Now it’s June and the temperature in Baghdad is already 49 degrees. That means there has been a two-month shift in reading the temperature,” he says.

“Fifty degrees is very dangerous if you’re out in the open. For the poor it is even more dangerous. They have no air conditioning to cool down. We expect the future climate of Iraq to be very dangerous,” Mr Hamed, the meteorologist says. “I expect that if the issue isn’t fixed, it will bring down the government.”


Worth the read. The Pentagon has warned that climate change also creates political instability.
Posted by bronxiteforever | Sat Aug 10, 2019, 07:48 AM (19 replies)

That Summer When Climate Change Baked Alaska

An Anchorage-based wildlife biologist describes what life is like in our northernmost state—one that’s been dramatically altered by rising temperatures.
August 09, 2019
By Jeff Turrentine

Chris McKee lived down the street from me when we were kids growing up...I’m going to move to Alaska and work with animals when I grow up,” nine-year-old Chris would say with perfect self-assurance as we kicked the soccer ball in his backyard, imagining our futures. Remarkably, Chris did exactly what he said he would do all those many years ago. Today he’s a wildlife biologist living and working in Alaska, the place he’s called home for the past three decades. Over that period of time he’s watched closely—with a scientist’s eye—as the physical environment of his beloved state has changed and continues to change.

...Thanks to climate scientists, we know that the average global temperature has risen by 1 degree Celsius over the past century. What many people may not realize is that over the same time frame, Alaska’s average temperature has risen twice as much. To hear Chris tell it, the changes resulting from this phenomenon can be seen—and felt—just about everywhere. “My first winter here, in Fairbanks from 1988 to 1989, was the coldest I’ve ever experienced. Temperatures of minus 40 were common, and even 50 and 60 below weren’t unheard of.”

That was the same winter he witnessed his first glacier: the Portage Glacier, just south of Anchorage. “There was a brand-new visitor center that had just been built,” he recalls. “It had a direct view, and it was a magnificent sight.” But when he went back to visit with his family last month, “the glacier had retreated so that you now have to take a boat to be able to see it. Every glacier I visited in my first decade up here has retreated so much, in fact, that sometimes it takes great effort to be able to see it.”

Despite all the bad news coming out of Alaska, my old friend has managed to retain his youthful optimism—although it’s definitely tempered by a middle-aged melancholy. “I think Alaska, and all polar communities, have already passed the tipping point in terms of preventing widespread problems from happening,” he says. “We’re now in a position of having to try and figure out how to deal with and react to those problems.”... It’s a startling thought, but when today’s nine-year-olds are kicking the soccer ball in the backyard and imagining where they’ll live when they grow up, they have to consider something that Chris and I didn’t: what kinds of places will—and won’t—still be around.

Worth the whole read and the photos are shocking.
Posted by bronxiteforever | Fri Aug 9, 2019, 05:13 PM (6 replies)
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