• Wave energy researchers dive deep to advance clean energy source

    One of the biggest untapped clean energy sources on the planet — wave energy — could one day power millions of homes across the U.S. But more than a century after the first tests of the power of ocean waves, it is still one of the hardest energy sources to capture.

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  • Climate Change Has Doubled Western U.S. Forest Fires

    A new study says that human-induced climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the U.S. West over the last 30 years. According to the study, since 1984 heightened temperatures and resulting aridity have caused fires to spread across an additional 16,000 square miles than they otherwise would have—an area larger than the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. The authors warn that further warming will increase fire exponentially in coming decades. 

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  • Urban Warming Slows Tree Growth, Photosynthesis

    New research from North Carolina State University finds that urban warming reduces growth and photosynthesis in city trees. The researchers found that insect pests are part of the problem, but that heat itself plays a more significant role.

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  • The Psychology Behind Climate Change Denial

    Climate change is a serious threat to humans, animals, and the earth’s ecosystems. Nevertheless, effective climate action has been delayed, partly because some still deny that there is a problem. In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial. The results show that individuals who accept hierarchical power structures tend to a larger extent deny the problem.

    In the scientific community there is a strong consensus that humans have significantly affected the climate and that we are facing serious challenges. But there is a lot of misinformation about climate change in circulation, which to a large part is created and distributed by organised campaigns with the aim of postponing measures that could combat climate change. And there are people who are more prone than others to trust this misinformation.

    Previous research has consistently shown that it is more common among politically conservative individuals to deny climate change. In her thesis, Kirsti Jylhä has investigated this further and in more detail. Her studies included ideological and personality variables which correlate with political ideology, and tested if those variables also correlate with climate change denial.

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  • Future increase in plant photosynthesis revealed by seasonal carbon dioxide cycle

    Doubling of the carbon dioxide concentration will cause global plant photosynthesis to increase by about one third, according to a paper published in the journal Nature

    The study has relevance for the health of the biosphere because photosynthesis provides the primary food-source for animal life, but it also has great relevance for future climate change.

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  • First evidence of deep-sea animals ingesting microplastics

    Following the news that the UK government is to ban plastic microbeads by the end of 2017, a team of scientists led by the University of Oxford has discovered the first evidence of microplastics being ingested by deep-sea animals.

    Researchers working on the Royal Research Ship (RRS) James Cook at two sites in the mid-Atlantic and south-west Indian Ocean found plastic microfibres inside creatures including hermit crabs, squat lobsters and sea cucumbers at depths of between 300m and 1800m.

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  • Wetlands and agriculture, not fossil fuels could be causing a global rise in methane

    Research published today in the American Geophysical Union’s journal Global Biogeochemical Cyclesshows that recent rises in levels of methane in our atmosphere is being driven by biological sources, such as swamp gas, cow burps, or rice fields, rather than fossil fuel emissions.

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  • 5 Species Most Likely to Survive a Climate Change Disaster

    Survival of the fittest. This basic tenet of evolution explains why the dodo bird no longer exists and why humans have opposable thumbs.

    Adaptation is key to survival, no matter how many fingers you’ve got. The ability to adjust to whatever conditions Mother Earth sends our way determines whether obstacles lead to extinction or to a new generation.

    Human-accelerated climate change is a disaster waiting to happen. We’ve already seen the superstorms and drought it can create. Although we can work to slow climate change, there’s no way to stop it completely. This reality means adaptation will once again become the most important strategy for survival.

    One thing’s for sure: the Earth will continue to exist as it has for eons. The question is, what will be left behind to inhabit it?

    Below are five species known for their resilience and ability to survive in adverse conditions. They are the most likely to survive a climate change disaster. Spoiler: humans don’t make the list.

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  • Fate of turtles and tortoises affected more by habitat than temperature

    Habitat degradation poses a greater risk to the survival of turtles and tortoises than rising global temperatures, according to new research.

    More than 60 per cent of the group are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, because they are being traded, collected for food and medicine and their habitats are being degraded. Understanding the additional impact of global warming and changes in rainfall patterns on their diversity and distributions is therefore paramount to their conservation.

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  • Birds prefer quality over quantity

    In a new study that upends the way ornithologists think about a young bird’s diet – but won’t shock parents used to scanning the nutritional profile of their children’s food – Cornell researchers have found that when it comes to what chicks eat, quality trumps quantity.

    In recent decades, many aerial insectivores, such as tree swallows, have undergone steep population declines. Cornell researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the fatty acid composition in the tree swallow diet plays a key role in chick health and survival rates, potentially pointing to new ways to protect fragile bird species.

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