Photo: Tsoo-Yess Beach
What is in the National Climate Assessment?
Since 1990, a panel if 13 agencies send experts to discuss the current situation of our planet and the climate. The Assessment is mandated by federal law every four years. The 575 plus page report is currently under review by the White House.
Read the Assessment here:
Copyright: Global Change
Photo credit: me
Scientists planting 400 acres of Minnesota pines to survive climate change:
Now, climate change is forcing a different kind of evolution on the southern, most vulnerable, edge of the boreal forest. The giant, long-living pines are disappearing, replaced by more southern species like red maple as tree species across the country move in response to rapid changes in temperature and moisture brought on by 100 years worth of rising carbon levels in the atmosphere.
A study of 86 eastern tree species published last week by Purdue University scientists found that many have already migrated west in response to increased rainfall in the central part of the country, and north in response to increased average temperatures.
Climate scientists predict that, even if global carbon emissions are held to the rates agreed upon in the Paris Climate Accord, then average temperatures will rise by two to four degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. That means the pines of northern Minnesota would give way to a hardwood and grass ecosystem, said Lee Frelich, a University of Minnesota professor who studies climate change and forests.
Trump calls mayor of shrinking Chesapeake island and tells him not to worry about it:
It began a week earlier, when CNN aired a story about Tangier, Va., which sits on Tangier Island, about 12 miles from both the Virginia and Maryland coasts in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. The small island, now only 1.3 square miles, shrinks by 15 feet each year, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, which points to coastal erosion and rising sea levels as the cause.
The island’s 450 residents, many of whom are descendants of its first settlers in the 17th century, are desperate. Scientists predict they will have to abandon the island in 50 years if nothing is done.
Trump thanked the mayor and the entire island of Tangier, where he received 87 percent of the votes, for their support. Then the conversation turned to the island’s plight.
“He said we shouldn’t worry about rising sea levels,” Eskridge said. “He said that ‘your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.’”
Energy Department Closes Office Working on Climate Change Abroad:
The Energy Department is closing an office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology, another sign of the Trump administration’s retreat on climate-related activities after its withdrawal from the Paris agreement this month.
The 11 staff members of the Office of International Climate and Technology were told this month that their positions were being eliminated, according to current and former agency employees. The office was formed in 2010 to help the United States provide technical advice to other nations seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The small office also played a lead role preparing for the annual Clean Energy Ministerial, a forum in which the United States, China, India and other countries shared insights on how best to promote energy efficiency, electric vehicles and other solutions to climate change.
Word of the closing came right before Rick Perry, the energy secretary, attended the latest Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in Beijing on June 6 to 8, agency employees said.
Climate Change Pushing Tropical Diseases Toward Arctic:
While much attention has been paid to the direct physical threats from climate change, such as rising seas and searing drought, scientists are really only beginning to understand many of the potential disease implications. In part that’s because as complex ecosystems shift in complex ways, the behavior response of the smallest cogs in those systems, such as insects and microbes, will be the hardest to predict.
Evidence suggests, for example, that moisture changes could alter the spread of the soil-borne fungi that give rise to the American Southwest’s flu-like valley fever, but scientists can’t yet say for sure. Infections that aerosolize, like tuberculosis, can linger longer and perhaps be transported easier in regions of the world projected to become more humid. New research suggests the spread of blood-sucking kissing bugs that contain parasites that carry Chagas Disease may well help that affliction spread into North America. Already millions of people worldwide, mostly in South America, suffer from chronic Chagas, which can lead to life-threatening heart damage and stroke.
But there also are plenty of pathogens whose courses already are being altered by fossil fuel emissions.
“So often so many of the things we talk about with climate change are ‘this is going to be a problem in 2030 or 2050 or 2100,’ and it sounds so far away,” says Maloy. “But we’re talking about things where our one-degree centigrade change in temperature is already enough to affect infections.”
Interior Department agency removes climate change language from news release:
On Thursday, a group of scientists, including three working for the U.S. Geological Survey, published a paper that highlighted the link between sea-level rise and global climate change, arguing that previously studies may have underestimated the risk flooding poses to coastal communities.
However, three of the study’s authors say the Department of Interior, under which USGS is housed, deleted a line from the news release on the study that discussed the role climate change played in raising Earth’s oceans.
“While we were approving the news release, they had an issue with one or two of the lines,” said Sean Vitousek, a research assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It had to do with climate change and sea-level rise.”
Could FOIA force the Trump administration to restore missing climate data?:
A new provision in open records law, added by Congress last year, requires agencies to publish electronically any information that is requested at least three times through the federal Freedom of Information Act, so long as that information is not otherwise exempt from disclosure. Last week, the advocacy groups and the biologist submitted identical requests for climate change information, hoping to trigger that provision, and they just might succeed.
“The law is pretty explicit,” said Aaron Mackey, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes transparency. “The law just says, if you get three, then you have to affirmatively disclose it. This should work.”