Climate Change in the News is a Planet Change selection of the latest news on climate change, nature, our environment and the impacts of a changing planet. Here’s what we’ve found and are reading. Tell us what interesting news has hit your screens this week.
James Hansen: Extreme Heat Events Connected to Climate Change
The percentage of the earth’s land surface covered by extreme heat in the summer has soared in recent decades, from less than 1 percent in the years before 1980 to as much as 13 percent in recent years, according to a new scientific paper. The change is so drastic, the paper says, that scientists can claim with near certainty that events like the Texas heat wave last year, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and the European heat wave of 2003 would not have happened without the planetary warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gases.
Those claims, which go beyond the established scientific consensus about the role of climate change in causing weather extremes, were advanced by James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, and two co-authors in a scientific paper published online on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (The New York Times) VIDEO: Hansen talks about the study on PBS NewsHour.
Thousands of Fish Die As Midwest Streams Heat Up
Thousands of fish are dying in the Midwest as the hot, dry summer dries up rivers and causes water temperatures to climb in some spots to nearly 100 degrees. About 40,000 shovelnose sturgeon were killed in Iowa last week as water temperatures reached 97 degrees. Nebraska fishery officials said they’ve seen thousands of dead sturgeon, catfish, carp, and other species in the Lower Platte River, including the endangered pallid sturgeon. And biologists in Illinois said the hot weather has killed tens of thousands of large- and smallmouth bass and channel catfish and is threatening the population of the greater redhorse fish, a state-endangered species. (Yahoo Finance, AP)
Ocean Acidification Could Disrupt Marine Food Chains
Ocean acidification caused by climate change is making it harder for creatures from clams to sea urchins to grow their shells, and the trend is likely to be felt most in polar regions, scientists said on Monday. A thinning of the protective cases of mussels, oysters, lobsters and crabs is likely to disrupt marine food chains by making the creatures more vulnerable to predators, which could reduce human sources of seafood. (Huffington Post, Reuters)
Twenty scientists involved in a new study have concluded that there were fewer fires following the onset of a global cooling trend hundreds of years ago. Conversely, there were more fires after the trend reversed into a period of global warming. “Climate ultimately drives fire,” said Mitchell Power, assistant professor of geography at the University of Utah and curator of the Garrett Herbarium at the Natural History Museum of Utah. (Deseret News)
Stephanie Hedean is a Strategic Marketing and Communications Consultant and a Volunteer at The Nature Conservancy.
Video credits: PBS NewsHour (Hansen), Reuters (Ocean Acidification).
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