Posted on March 3, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA Earth Observatory map shows the rainfall deficit during the 2006-2010 drought across the fertile crescent of Iraq and Syria.
Population growth, drought and poor governance combined to spur 2011 Syria uprising
FRISCO — A sustained drought in the Middle East, driven by global warming, may have been a key trigger for the brutal war in Syria, according to researchers. The drought, lasting from 2006 to 2010, destroyed agriculture in northern Syria, forcing farmers into cities, where poverty, government mismanagement and other factors created unrest that exploded in spring 2011.
“We’re not saying the drought caused the war,” said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who coauthored a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We’re saying that added to all the other stressors, it helped kick things over the threshold into open conflict. And a drought of that severity was made much more likely by the ongoing human-driven drying of that region.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, drought, global warming, Middle East, Syrian uprising | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New study pinpoints climate-change threats to Pacific Northwest rainforests
FRISCO — Huge reservoirs of biodiversity in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest are at risk as global warming reshapes climate conditions in the region.
Suitable habitat for majestic coastal redwoods could shrink by 23 percent, and other species like Alaska’s yellow cedars are already dying back as temperatures warm.
“In the Pacific Northwest, the glass is half empty as the climate may no longer support rainforest communities like coast redwood,” said Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Chief Scientist of Geos Institute, announcing the results of a recent study that focused on the future distribution of eight rainforest conifers across a 2,200-mile stretch of coastal rainforests in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Alaska. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Environment, forests, global warming | Tagged: climate change, environent, forests, global warming, temperate rainforests | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New England, Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic regions all vulnerable to ocean acidification threats
Love oysters? Then you should be worried about global warming. bberwyn photo
FRISCO — Some coastal communities with long traditions of relying on shellfish to support their economies could be facing a triple whammy of pollution.
Increasing ocean acidification, combined with cold, upwelling water and polluted runoff from land could put many of those communities at long-term economic risk, according to a new study funded by the National Science Foundation’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.
“Ocean acidification has already cost the oyster industry in the Pacific Northwest nearly $110 million and jeopardized about 3,200 jobs,” said Julie Ekstrom, who was lead author on the study while with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She is now at the University of California at Davis. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification, oysters, Shellfish | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Coral reefs near Panama stopped growing during an exstended phase of La Niña-like conditions in the Pacific Ocean. Photo courtesy NOAA.
‘It’s possible that anthropogenic climate change may once again be pushing these reefs towards another regional collapse …’
FRISCO — Past climate shifts resulting in La Niña-like conditions off the coast of Panamá resulted in a 2,500-year shutdown in coral reef growth, scientists said this week, warning that human-caused global warming could lead to similar conditions in the coming decades.
“We are in the midst of a major environmental change that will continue to stress corals over the coming decades, so the lesson from this study is that there are these systems such as coral reefs that are sensitive to environmental change and can go through this kind of wholesale collapse in response to these environmental changes,” said Kim Cobb, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, climate change, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: climate change, coral reef decline, coral reefs, global warming, La Niña, Panama | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 22, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Extreme weather could cut global yields by 25 percent
FRISCO — Scientists in the biggest wheat-producing state in the U.S. issued a stark climate change warning last week, saying that 25 percent of the world’s wheat production will be lost to extreme weather if no adaptive measures are taken.
The research by scientists at Kansas State University concluded that global wheat yields are likely to decrease by 6 percent for each 1 degree Celsius of temperature rise. In the next few decades, that could add up to a 25 percent loss in global wheat yields. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, Drought, Environment, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: agriculture, climate change, food, global warming, hunger, wheat yields | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Sardines and other commercially important fish are moving north in response to global warming.
Study tracks temperature-driven shift in Atlantic Ocean fish populations
FRISCO — For centuries, sardines, anchovies and mackerels have been critically important species for coastal communities, but global warming is chasing the fish northward. Some fishing towns may be facing make big economic adjustments in coming decades, according to researchers who carefully crunched the numbers for 40 years worth of fishing records.
The new study warned that the changes in such an important ecological group “will have an effect on the structure and functioning of the whole ecosystem.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: anchovies, Atlantic Ocean warming, climate change, fish and global warming, global warming, mackerels, sardines | 1 Comment »