Posted on August 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
No place to go …
Tropical mountain forests in Australia could be nearly wiped out by global warming before the end of the century. Photo via the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Australia.
FRISCO — Scientists have long warned that mountain ecosystems are especially vulnerable to climate change, because as temperatures warm, species adapted to living atop mountains just won’t have anywhere to go.
A new study by Australian scientists appears to confirm those fears, concluding that the cloud forests in tropical forests are the most at risk. Many tropical, mountaintop plants won’t survive global warming, even under the best-case climate scenario. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Australia, biodiversity, climate change, cloud forests, global warming, wet tropics world heritage area | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A humpback whale near Hawaii. Photo courtesy NOAA.
FRISCO — While many Australian animal species are being pushed toward extinction, humpback whales off both the country’s east and west coasts are making a strong comeback from the whaling era.
Recent research suggests humpback populations are growing at about 10 percent annually, and that populations have recovered to between 60 and 90 percent of pre-whaling numbers, according to a new study published in the journal Marine Policy. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Australia, endangered species, humpback whales, marine mammals, ocean conservation | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Australia’s blistering Millennium Drought spurred wholesale changes in water use.
Regional water czar directed coordinated drought response
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Drought-prone cities and regions around the world can look to Melbourne, Australia to get an idea of what it takes to tackle water shortages during extended dry spells — and to prepare for future droughts, which are projected to become more frequent in some regions as global warming intensifies.
As the worst drought in Australia’s history took hold during the late 1990s, the city’s 4.3 million residents were able to cut their daily water use by half, to just 41 gallons per per person, according to a new study. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, global warming | Tagged: Australia, climate change, drought, drought response, Melbourne, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A section of the Great Barrier Reef photographed from the International Space Station.
Australian scientists offer common-sense plan to restore coral reef ecosystem
FRISCO — After a 40-year span when the Great Barrier Reef lost half its coral cover, and with global warming looming for the future, Australian scientists say fundamental changes are needed to protect the reef.
Better policies focusing on science, protection and conservation are the key, a team of leading researchers wrote this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, arguing that all the stressors on the Reef need to be reduced for it to recover. Continue reading
Filed under: coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: Australia, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, Great Barrier Reef | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Earth hs often been marked by meteor impacts, and a new impact zone in Australia may the largest ever. Photo via USGS.
Geothermal exploration leads to unexpected discovery
FRISCO — Scientists exploring deep underground for geothermal resources in Australia got more than they bargained for when they found signs of an ancient 400-kilometer-wide impact zone from a huge meteorite that broke in two moments before it slammed into the Earth.
The crater from the impact millions of years ago has long disappeared. But a team of geophysicists has found the twin scars of the impacts — the largest impact zone ever found on Earth — hidden deep in the earth’s crust. Continue reading
Filed under: astronomy, Environment | Tagged: Australia, earth history, Geology, meteor impacts, meteors | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A recent weather satellite image of Australia, via NASA.
‘The Millennium Drought was far from an exceptional event for eastern Australia during the past thousand years …’
FRISCO — Even without the added factor of global warming, eastern Australia is susceptible to climate extremes, including long-lasting droughts that could put a huge strain on water storage and delivery systems.
Researchers say a 1,000-year ice core record from Antarctica shows the recent “Millennium Drought” actually wasn’t all that unusual in the context of Australia’s long-term climate history. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, extreme weather | Tagged: Antarctica, Australia, climate change, drought, global warming, Ice core | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Study presents new evidence of unsustainable fishing.
Catch rates down by 90 percent in 100 years
FRISCO — Australian ocean scientists say they’ve quantified a decline in Queensland’s pink snapper fishery that resulted in a drop almost 90 percent in catch rates since the 19th century.
To trace the decline, researchers with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the University of Queensland and the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry scoured thousands of newspaper articles dating back to1870 to reveal the historic catch rates for the iconic Queensland fishery. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Australia, fishing, sustainable fisheries | Leave a comment »