Australian Bushfires/Wildfires Biodiversity Climate Change Environment 

Extreme Wildfires’ Effects on Australian Forests

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Australia began 2020 facing the losses and catastrophic effects of the early fire season that began in September 2019. As of this writing, 33 people have died, and more than 2,200 homes have been lost—numbers that may increase, as some fires are still burning in the country, even after heavy rains have helped put out others. According to scientists, more than one billion animals have died in the wildfires, while more than 46 million acres of land have burned. Experts are saying that the Australian environment…

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The water bear or moss piglet is a tiny invertebrate that's been around on Earth for more than half a billion years. This is a giant model at the AMNH's "Life at the Limits" exhibit. Photo courtesy of Eden, Janine, and Jim(CC BY 2.0) Animals Biology Climate Change Environment 

Even the Resilient Tardigrade Has an Achilles Heel

By Shelby Nilsen (@shellbeegrace) Climate change is already affecting many habitats and ecosystems. As a result, scientists are working to understand how the rising temperatures we face might affect extant animals—that is, those species that are still surviving—including tardigrades, some of the toughest organisms around, which are well known for their ability to adapt to extreme environments.  In the face of certain environmental cues, tardigrades enter cryptobiosis, a state in which all metabolic processes stop until the organism’s surroundings become favorable again. This remarkable survival tactic allows tardigrades to withstand…

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View towards Khumbu and Cholatse from below Ama Dablam at about 4,900 m showing typical subnival vegetation in the foreground. Photo credit: Karen Anderson Climate Change Ecology 

Plants Climb Himalayas as Snow Line Recedes

By Emily Rhode Humans aren’t the only ones climbing the highest peaks in the world these days. Thanks to warming temperatures, some areas around Mt. Everest that are normally covered in snow are getting greener. To a plant, that’s great news. But for the 1.4 billion people who live at the base of the Himalayas and depend on snowmelt for fresh water, the steady march of the stubby vegetation that inhabits the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region could be an indication of a crisis in the making. High-altitude data mining…

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Bush Fires across Woy Woy Bay in New South Wales, Australia, Photo by Martin Snicer (CC BY-ND 2.0) Climate Change Ecology Environment 

Australian Bushfires vs Amazon Rain Forest Fires

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Year 2019 faced many climatic emergencies and devastating scenarios. The Amazon rainforest in Brazil was consumed by a number of fires that burned around 17.5 million acres of land, and Australia was ravaged by massive bushfires that have spread uncontrollably into 2020. There are many questions about the differences between these two events. From a large distance, they might look alike, but they actually present a lot of dissimilarities, making any comparison unfair. The evident and shocking number of deaths in Australia—both human and animal—already shows…

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CO2 capture and storage Climate Change Environment Geology 

CO2 underground could combat climate change

By Mackenzie Myers, @kenzwrites Despite the scariness of already-manifesting climate change, lawmakers and researchers worldwide have identified strategies to help us fight it. Expanding renewable energy, replacing coal with natural gas, and making machines more energy-efficient are just a few tricks humankind has up its sleeves. At the center of all this, of course, is a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. According to a new study, one key to accomplishing that goal may lie far beneath the surface of the earth and yet be more accessible than you might…

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Climate Change Ecology Geology 

Fossil pollen holds clues to past

By Mackenzie Myers What if, instead of ancient treasure and tombs, Indiana Jones researched ancient pollen and soil?  Beyond just a seasonal nuisance or a crucial component of agriculture, pollen can be a key to understanding the past. It clues researchers in to how land was used thousands of years ago, as well as what the climate conditions were like at that time. And according to a new study from North Carolina State University, this tool may be available in more areas than previously thought.  Painting the past with fossil…

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Figure Five: Forum participants choosing where to allocate resources. Image Credit: Museum of Science, Boston Citizen Science Climate Change Environment SciStarter Blog 

Boston is Wicked Hot: Here’s What They’re Doing About It

Want to learn more about this initiative? Check out the Wicked Hot Boston series, Parts One and Two. Want to address climate hazards in your community? Head over to SciStarter.org/NOAA to find a citizen science project. Wicked Hot Boston It’s true: the world is getting hotter, and Boston is becoming WICKED hot.  This past summer, the Museum of Science, Boston (MOS) team and local citizen scientists began to measure extreme temperatures. They used sensors provided by CAPA Strategies to make an ambient air temperature map of Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline,…

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Hurricane Patricia Biota Project Climate Change Environment 

Community Perspectives Strengthen Hurricane Preparedness

By Helen Cheng (@ms_helenc / @thebiotaproject) For those who live along the United States East Coast, October is the height of the hurricane season. According to the National Hurricane Center, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The peak of the season is mid-August to late October, as shown in the graph below, with the number of storms increasing during this time of year. However, deadly hurricanes can occur anytime in the hurricane season. Understanding communities’ past experiences of hurricanes and how they perceive forecasts for…

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Meltwater rivers gushing on top of the ice layers in Greenland Climate Change Environment 

Greenland Ice Sheets Losing Ability to Absorb Meltwater

By Neha Jain Greenland Ice Sheets Losing Ability to Absorb Meltwater Sea-rise levels caused by a warmer Earth may be higher than predicted, according to a new study. Meltwater from ice sheets at the poles is often blamed for rising sea levels. Now, scientists have discovered some more grim news: Ice sheets in Greenland are losing their ability to retain meltwater, resulting in faster runoff of meltwater into the ocean. Meltwater from ice sheets does not always run off into the ocean. During summer when melting occurs, some of the…

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