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Global warming aids spread of invasive fish in Mediterranean Sea

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A juvenile rabbitfish, an invasive species blamed for wiping out huge areas of ocean habitat. Photo courtesy Zafer Kizilkaya.

Ocean ecosystems at risk from fish that kills algal forests

Staff Report

FRISCO — The spread of invasive tropical fish into previously temperate waters is also affecting the Mediterranean Sea, according to Australian scientist monitoring the spread of rabbitfish which have already devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Global warming may help the fish spread into the entire Mediterranean Basin, researcher warned in a new paper published in the Journal of Ecology (Authors: Dr. Adriana Vergés, of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Dr. Fiona Tomas of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain). Continue reading

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Microplastic pollution widespread in St. Lawrence River

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A NASA Earth Observatory image shows ice formations on the St. Lawrence river.

Microbeads are pathway for other environmental contaminants

Staff Report

FRISCO — Microplastics have long documented as a growing environmental threat to oceans, and European researchers recently warned of similar problems in Italian lakes, and now, Canadian scientists say they’ve found 2-millimeter plastic microbeads widely distributed along the bottom of the St. Lawrence River.

The team of researchers from McGill University and the Quebec government published their study this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

The paper explains that the pollution probably comes from cosmetics, household cleansers, or industrial cleansers, to which they are commonly added as abrasives. Owing to their small size and buoyancy, they may readily pass through sewage treatment plants.  Microplastics are a global contaminant in the world’s oceans, but have only recently been detected in the surface waters of lakes and rivers. Continue reading

Climate: August global temp sets new record

2014 on track to be one of the warmest years ever

August 2014 global warming map

August 2014 was record warm.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Planet Earth was record warm in August 2014, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said Thursday, explaining that warm oceans continue to drive temperatures around the world to the highest levels seen since observations started more than 100 years ago. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sweet September!

Transformation

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Aspen tapestry.

FRISCO — As if knowing that there are a couple of drab months ahead, Colorado’s aspen trees burst into full color this week in a magical transformation that never fails to amaze. In some cases, entire hillsides change over in just a day or two; in other areas, the shift takes a little longer, but the end result is the same. And with relatively calm and sunny weather forecast for the next few days, the show should continue, at least until a big windstorm or the first real snowfall of autumn (at valley elevations) starts to sweep the leaves off the trees. Continue reading

Climate: Ocean acidification may be stunting coral growth

Mapping coral diseases is helping researchers determine the cause. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Coral growth is slowing dramatically along parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Will the world’s coral reefs simply dissolve as oceans become more acidic?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Scientists monitoring the Great Barrier Reef said they’ve tracked a “perilous” 40 percent slowdown in coral growth rates since the 1970s.

The trend may be linked with increasing ocean acidification, according to the new study led  by researchers with the Carnegie Institution for Science.

The researchers compared current measurements of the growth rate of a section of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with similar measurements taken more than 30 years ago. Continue reading

Environment: Pesticide pollution rising in urban streams

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About half the nation’s streams are polluted by pesticides at a level of concern for aquatic life.

90 percent of urban streams show signs of contamination

Staff Report

FRISCO — A huge number of rivers and streams around the country are still polluted with pesticides that can kill bugs and other aquatic organisms at the base of the food chain.

Streams in agricultural areas are polluted at about the same level as they were 1990s, but pesticide pollution is increasing in urban streams, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study spanning about 20 years. Continue reading

Thanks for supporting independent journalism!

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Enjoying dinner and supporting independent journalism at the Sunshine Cafe in Dillon, Colorado.

I’ll be discussing global warming in the Rocky Mountains live on the KGNU program, “A Public Affair” Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 8:30 a.m. You can listen streaming on the web by going to www.kgnu.org and clicking on the “Tune In Online” button (left sidebar)

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Ever since I waded knee-deep into the mucky water of Cucumber Gulch 15 years ago to write about vanishing boreal toads, I had this crazy idea that good environmental journalism — and good journalism in general — should be a core community value. The feedback I got on countless stories about critters, forests, water, snow and ski areas — especially ski area expansions — over the years helped reinforce that feeling.

I’ve always known that Summit County readers are smart, engaged and interested in what happens in the world around them. That enthusiasm manifested last Friday evening at the Sunshine Cafe, where about 25 people enjoyed a fabulous menu, a slide show about the Climate Ranger environmental reporting project and a silent auction. The dinner was an incredibly generous gift from cafe owners Mike and Tenley Spry and their gracious and welcoming staff.

We brainstormed about local environment stories, and as always, water is always a key topic — not surprisingly, since a new state report released in August projects that global warming will cut river flows in our state in a big way by 2050, and the impacts by the end of the century could be overwhelming if greenhouse gas emissions continue apace.

We’ll devote some of the money raised at the dinner to writing a couple of in-depth local natural resource stories, and I look forward to hearing more from readers about what you’d like to see covered. With sustainable funding, I can deliver solid and truly newsworthy environmental stories from the local area, but I can’t do it without your support and I can’t do it for free — this is not a hobby.

Doing good journalism takes resources and time, and I’ve already invested more than 15 years in learning about public land and water policy, forest health, climate change, endangered species and other topics I write about.

You can be a grassroots supporter of independent journalism by making a contribution to Summit Voice:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

If you’d like to become a business supporter, have a look at the link sponsorship ads in the sidebar. I would love to work with you and feature you as an ongoing supporter of independent reporting. Please contact me at bberwyn@comcast.net.

If you would specifically like to support the Climate Ranger project, reporting on global warming in the Rocky Mountains, please visit our Beacon Reader page, where your contribution will also give you access to a wealth of diverse independent reporting from around the world.

 

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