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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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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Environment Science Debate Series Science Policy 

The Unfortunate Withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) This article is part of a series about key science policy issues. Please use these articles to become an informed voter, ask political candidates about the issues, and put every candidate on record about science. In December 2015, parties of the UNFCCC (United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change) gathered at the twenty-first Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris to create a new international deal to mitigate climate change, called the Paris Agreement. Its ultimate goal was to keep the rise in average surface temperature below…

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Ecology Environment Science Policy 

Forest Restoration, Not Plantations, Will Curb Warming

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) Forests are our best natural weapon against climate change. By sucking up large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, forests can store about a quarter of the carbon necessary to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. So, it is not surprising that boosting forest area through restoration has been one of the main goals of international organizations tackling rising global temperatures. Encouragingly, 43 countries concentrated around the tropics, where trees grow fast, have pledged to restore 292 million hectares of forest…

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Ocean Floor Warming Affects Antarctic Seabed Life Biology Environment Oceanography 

Ocean Floor Warming Affects Antarctic Seabed Life

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore A rise in ocean temperatures by 1°C may not seem like a lot. But researchers were surprised to find nearly doubled growth of some species with just one-degree rise in ocean warming and varied growth responses of assemblages with two degrees of warming, in the most realistic marine warming study conducted in Antarctica to date. These drastic changes in community structure may have huge consequences for the entire ecosystem, as they affect the food chain. “I was not expecting such a visible difference,” said Gail Ashton,…

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Frequent Rainstorms Predicted with Climate Change Environment 

Frequent Rainstorms Predicted with Climate Change

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore If you live in California, you might recall the powerful winter rainstorm of 2014, dubbed the “storm of the decade.” While it offered some respite from the prolonged drought in the region, it dumped several inches of rain—in some Bay Area counties average annual rainfall was doubled—which caused widespread flooding and power outages. Until now such intense rainstorms have been rare. But in the future, Californians may need to clutch their umbrellas and slip on their rain boots more often because such monster rainstorms might become the…

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What Happens When Antarctica Melts? Environment 

What Happens When Antarctica Melts?

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Between December 2001 and February 2002, the Antarctic continent underwent a season of intense melting. Aside from the loss of ice, what really happens when Antarctica melts? New research reveals that the changes range from sped-up microbial food webs to shifting penguin populations. The clash of two climatic cycles, the Southern Annular Mode and the El Niño Southern Oscillation, produced an unusually warm and windy spring season across Antarctica back in 2001–2002. This climate event melted glaciers including the Totten Glacier, thinned lake ice, and caused…

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global warming Environment Science Videos 

Global Warming: What’s Really Warming the Earth?

Dr. Joe Hanson explores the possible causes of global warming in this episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart.   References and Further Reading July 2016 is hottest on record NOAA’s State of the Climate July 2016 Bloomberg’s climate change data viz project Solar activity and temperature show opposite trend Milankovitch cycles (I left out eccentricity because it operates on scales so long that it doesn’t affect short-term climate change) Connecting climate models with actual temperature changes NASA Goddard’s Gavin Schmidt explains the history of the instrumental temperature record Last time…

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Totten Glacier. Esmee van Wijk/Australian Antarctic Division Environment 

Climate Change Strikes Totten Glacier in Antarctica

By Norman Rusin @normanrusin A warmer climate attacks polar glaciers at both ends of the Earth. In the Arctic, ponds of meltwater speed up the overall melting process, but in Antarctica, currents of warm water erode the ice sheet beneath the surface. Recent observations revealed that ice sheet erosion in two Antarctic regions is deep enough to expose basement rocks. At current rates, the erosion could trigger instability in a major Antarctic glacier, ultimately leading to more than 2 m (6.56 ft) of sea level rise. What Is a Grounding Line?…

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Tracking Climate Change Through Hibernating Toads Animals Environment 

Tracking Climate Change Through Hibernating Toads

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Have you ever wondered how animals are coping with warming temperatures? Our warming planet affects the migration, reproduction, and hibernation of animals that depend on the seasons to regulate these behaviors.  For example, new research finds that Fowler’s toads in Canada are emerging out of hibernation earlier each spring as the climate warms. Hibernating Toads Even though David Green, a professor at McGill University, Canada, had been studying Fowler’s toads for the past 25 years, the discovery of the toads’ early emergence from hibernation was quite…

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