Are your choices really climate friendly?

Emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are driving global climate change and increasing the occurrence of extreme weather events. Technological advances are not enough to reach the needed reduction in emissions to mitigate impacts of climate change. Households have to pull their weight by altering consumption patterns. Perhaps you already do – by choosing not to own a car and taking public transportation or walking. But have you thought about how you (re)-spend the money you saved by this choice? And how it affects the bottom line of green-house gases emissions.

Read more

Winter coat color determines species survival in a changing climate

We’ve all seen pictures of a bright white arctic fox or snowshoe hare in a snowy landscape. But did you know, these same animals actually have brown coats during the summer? The ability of animals to change their seasonal coat color enables them to camouflage themselves against the landscape year round. A decrease in the duration of winter snow cover is one of the most widespread signals of climate change. Without snow, bright white arctic foxes and snowshoe hares will be obvious to predators and have decreased survival. A recent study reports that populations that have a mix of individuals with either brown or white winter coats may be better able to adapt and persist during this age of climate change.

Read more

Summer and fall heat may delay the timing of autumn foliage

We’re entering the most beautiful time of year—autumn—when temperate and boreal forests change from vibrant green to dozens of hues of yellow, orange, and red. Have you ever wondered what affects the timing of autumn leaf change? A recent study suggests that warmer than average summer and fall temperatures may delay the timing of leaf change in European beech trees, and while temperature may be the driving factor, how temperature differences may interact with other conditions (like drought) in the future is still unclear.

Read more

Where will the tall trees grow?

What will the landscape look like when the world is four degrees warmer? Seven degrees warmer? Will you see the same trees and shrubs? Will the same birds visit your bird feeder? If you live in a forest now, will you then live in a desert? The implications have wide consequences not least for the production of food and the provision of water for your future self.

Read more

Using Mathematical Models to Better Understand Mosquito-Borne Disease Transmission

Diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika are largely (or entirely!) spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes thrive in hot, humid weather. This is why we see more mosquitoes during the warm summer months – hotter weather means more mosquitoes. That should mean more mosquito-borne disease too, right? Not exactly. Recent research is showing that the relationship between temperature and the spread of these diseases is actually more complicated.

Read more

Dropping the base: Could climate change make rivers and lakes more acidic?

We can thank the Clean Air Act for doing a lot to improve our environment, including helping to make rivers and lakes less acidic. But in some places, climate change has the potential to reverse some of that progress. In this study, scientists set out to investigate a potentially hidden impact of climate change: making rivers and streams more acidic.

Read more

Building Barriers to Stop Sea Level Rise, What’s at Stake?

Anticipated growth of coastal communities is expected in the ensuing future. As these communities expand so will the issue of coastal protection. Currently 14% of the continental US has armored shorelines to protect infrastructure and people from storm surges and consequent flooding. However, the biological impact of these barriers is under scrutiny. Research conducted by Gehman and colleagues at the University of Georgia investigated how armored coastlines impact both biotic and abiotic features of coastal-upland boundaries along coastal Georgia compared unarmored and forested locations.

Read more