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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Right Place Wrong Time: Timing Mismatches Between Humans and Plants at Mount Rainier National Park

In a recent study using crowd-sourced data, Harvard researchers found that National Park visitors may increasingly visit the parks at the wrong time and the small window when most of the wildflowers bloom. At Mount Rainier National Park, early snowmelt means the plants flower before the majority of tourists visit the park. With climate change, these timing mismatches will become more common, however small changes to human behavior may put the flowers and and the humans that admire them back in sync.

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The burning question: How do wildfires impact watersheds?

Wildfires can be devastating events, but the impacts can last long after the flames are gone. The major changes to the landscape can have serious implications for how water moves and, as a result, how much of that water we can use. In this study, scientists investigate what a fiery future under climate change could mean for watersheds.

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