Climate Change is Increasing the Likelihood of Worst-Case Scenarios

If you were following coverage of Hurricane Delta this week, you might’ve noticed that it seemed to come out of nowhere — one day we were all talking about Tropical Storm Gamma, and then seemingly overnight the conversation shifted to sounding alarms over Hurricane Delta. This phenomenon, in which a hurricane goes from nobody to nightmare in under a day, is known as rapid intensification. The one-two punch of rapid intensificaton being both deadly and difficult to predict has made it an urgent problem for forecasters as we all try to adjust to our changing climate.

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Blue Carbon and Green Kelp: Kelp forests could reduce carbon emissions

Blue carbon is the carbon that is stored within marine ecosystems. It is being used more frequently within global carbon budgets, which are calculated to help us reduce climate change. Historically, only tidal marshes, mangrove forests, and seagrass beds have been used in calculating stored carbon for carbon budgets. A team of researchers from Norway wanted to see if kelp forests could significantly contribute to carbon storage. They studied the kelp forests along Australia’s southern coast and found their storage potential to be similar to that of the other historically used ecosystems. Conserving and restoring kelp forests could therefore increase carbon storage and help reduce climate change.

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Measuring who our carbon footprint landing on

Who is impacted most by climate change? While most environmental carbon originates in the developed world, most of the immediate effects are being felt by those in developing or least developed countries. Could describing climate change in a human frame be the key to mobilizing mitigation action? Researchers use new data sets to assess the flood risk of a previously unexplored population of vulnerable communities living in river deltas around the world.

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In otter news: Disappearing otters and climate change spell double trouble for reefs

As many people know, sea otters are great at being adorable. But do sea otters also play an important role in combating the impacts of climate change? In this study, scientists looked at how the loss of sea otters might be making reefs more susceptible to climate change.

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When Fire and Water Collide: Looking to Lakes to Understand Fire’s Deep Past

As I woke up this morning, I learned that a wildfire raging in our local forest had grown to nearly 70,000 acres. A mixture of emotions subsequently flooded in, combining thoughts of concern with questions about how climate change is altering wildfire patterns. In order for scientists and land managers to better predict wildfire outbreaks and to understand the role that climate plays in their behavior, they must first examine the fire history of an area over a long period of time—longer than recorded history. Charcoal and pollen deposits in lake sediments may be able to provide answers to the mysteries of fire’s deep past. Read on to hear about this interesting approach and how one study of lake sediments mapped out 1.5 million years of fire history in China.

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How to strike harmony between clean energy and nature-based tourism

Iceland is a beautiful country and my vacation there was one of my favorites! However, there is some tension in the country balancing clean energy development and maintaining the pristine natural areas that draw tourists annually. Authors of this paper explore how these two conflicting interests can work together and help to promote renewable energy production.

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Space Invaders? Exotic Bees in the Urban Landscape

One up and coming target for bee conservation has been the urban landscape, as some recent findings have indicated that cities can maintain diverse bee communities. Though on the surface these findings seem promising for bee conservation, many of these studies do not actually address whether this is a positive thing for native bees. One group of scientists decided to delve further into this topic by looking at the effects of urbanization on bee species. Specifically, they wanted to find out whether exotic bees, including the European honeybee, were found more abundantly in cities and other urban areas than in rural communities and how their presence affected native bees.

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California Electrification – what buildings, the grid, and the environment need in an age of energy transition and climate change

A team of energy scientists from California tackle the big question of what will electricity demand look like in a changing climate? By analyzing the evolution of the electric grid to supply an increasing demand under the state’s climate action plan AND the increasing demand to make people comfortable in a variable and changing climate, these researchers have given imperative insight into the future of California electrification.

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