A rise in sea levels threatens the viability of more than 1,400 cities and towns, including Miami, Virginia Beach and Jacksonville, unless there are deep cuts in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, says an analysis out Monday.
Prior emissions have already locked in 4 feet of future sea-level rise that will submerge parts of 316 municipalities, but the timing is unclear and could take hundreds of years, according to the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If global warming continues at its current rate through the year 2100, at least an additional 1,100 cities and towns will be mostly under water at high tide in the distant future. Read more
July 24, 2013
The following is part five in a series on the NSF-NIH Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) Program.
Like all of us, corals get sick. They respond to pathogens (disease-causing microbes) and recover or die. But unlike us, they can't call a doctor for treatment.
Instead, help has arrived in the form of scientists who study the causes of the corals' disease, and the immune factors that might be important in their response and resistance.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), scientists Drew Harvell and Colleen Burge of Cornell University and their colleagues have developed a catalog of genes that, the researchers say, will allow us to better understand the immune systems of corals called sea fans.
The marine ecologists have trained their undersea eyes on a particular sea fan species, Gorgonia ventalina, or the purple sea fan, found in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Read more
Article: National Science Foundation. http://www.nsf.gov
For the 9th straight summer, 12 Dartmouth students will travel across the nation in the completely student-run Big Green Bus. The Big Green Bus is a project that was founded in 2005 to promote sustainability and renewable energy sources run by Dartmouth College students. The bus will be hosting showing the movie Fuel on Friday, July 5th at 6:00pm at the Reef Relief Environmental Center located at 631 Greene St. in Key West. It's free so just stop by and enjoy!
By David McFadden. Associated Press. 05/08/13
TELESCOPE, Grenada — The old coastal road in this fishing village at the eastern edge of Grenada sits under a couple of feet of murky saltwater, which regularly surges past a hastily-erected breakwater of truck tires and bundles of driftwood intended to hold back the Atlantic Ocean.
For Desmond Augustin and other fishermen living along the shorelines of the southern Caribbean island, there’s nothing theoretical about the threat of rising sea levels.
“The sea will take this whole place down,” Augustin said as he stood on the stump of one of the uprooted palm trees that line the shallows off his village of tin-roofed shacks built on stilts. “There’s not a lot we can do about it except move higher up.” Read the full story
Friday, May 17, 2013. Tampa Bay Times
The big threat to Florida's future that elected leaders aren't talking about: the average amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the past 10 days, two different groups of scientists have reported the heat-trapping gas has reached the neighborhood of 400 parts per million — a level not seen for millions of years and not since sea levels were 60 to 80 feet higher.
But amid another partisan week of politics in Washington, there was minimal reaction to estimates that in less than 25 years the planet could suffer irreversible damage. Nor was there acknowledgement that long-term worldwide efforts — including the lackadaisical strategies by biggest carbon polluters China and the United States — are nowhere near what is needed to slow the trend. Such neglect portends significant risk to coastal states like Florida and future generations.
To get a sense of how quickly human activity has altered CO2 levels, scientists study ancient air bubbles in Antarctic ice. For about the last 8,000 years, which represents the age of human civilization, CO2 levels measured around 280 parts per million in the atmosphere. But since the start of the Industrial Revolution, after the burning of fossil fuels accelerated, levels of greenhouse gases have spiked 41 percent. Hitting the 400 parts per million mark, the highest daily average ever recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, brings the planet closer to 450 ppm, the maximum level nations have set if the world is to prevent massive damage from global warming. At this rate, experts say the planet will hit that point in under 25 years. Read more
May 11th 2013.The Economist
AT NOON on May 4th the carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere around the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii hit 400 parts per million (ppm). The average for the day was 399.73 and researchers at the observatory expect this figure, too, to exceed 400 in the next few days. The last time such values prevailed on Earth was in the Pliocene epoch, 4m years ago, when jungles covered northern Canada.
There have already been a few readings above 400ppm elsewhere—those taken over the Arctic Ocean in May 2012, for example—but they were exceptional. Mauna Loa is the benchmark for CO2 measurement (and has been since 1958, see chart) because Hawaii is so far from large concentrations of humanity. The Arctic, by contrast, gets a lot of polluted air from Europe and North America. Read the full story
NAPLES, FL – Apr 28, 2013 6:41 PM EDT. http://www.nbc-2.com/
Neighbors in a Naples community are outraged after receiving a letter, which led to the discovery of possible oil drilling near their homes by a Texas company.
A letter is how they found out about the possibility of drilling near their homes.
It was passed out to several families near the oil well site.
It asks for is their information in case of emergency.
Many neighbors tell us they're going to do whatever they can to make sure drilling doesn't happen.
"We don't want it here…. I would not be here," said Jaime Duran.
Their fears are growing over the possibility of oil and gas drilling in their neighborhood. Get the full story
Published Wednesday, April 3, 2013 3:57PM EDT
OTTAWA – A renowned Canadian scientist says there appear to be similarities between fish deformities found downstream from Alberta's oilsands and those observed after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and Florida's Deepwater Horizon disaster.
David Schindler of the University of Alberta has written two federal cabinet ministers pointing out the research similarities.
He's proposing that some chemical or suite of chemicals found in crude oil may be causing the malformations, and he'd like to see Canada take the lead in researching the issue.
2 April 2013
Canada's Information Commission is to investigate claims that the government is "muzzling" its scientists.
The move is in response to a complaint filed by academics and a campaign group.
BBC News reported last year instances of the government blocking requests by journalists to interview scientists.
Some scientists alleged that the muzzling could help suppress environmental concerns about government policies.
The former president of the Canadian Science Writers' Association, Veronique Morin, says that the commissioner's office will now have to find out if the federal government has in effect been operating a policy of censorship.
"Vital stories pertaining to the environment, natural resources, food safety, fisheries and oceans are not coming out in Canada because, for several years now, the government has imposed rules which prevents its scientists from speaking freely about their publicly funded research," she said. Read the full article
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico nearly three years ago, but the estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil that it released are still killing dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life in record numbers, according to new research.
The report, “Restoring a Degraded Gulf of Mexico: Wildlife and Wetlands Three Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster,” found that dolphins were among the hardest hit animals. As of just earlier this year, infant dolphins were dying six times faster than they did before the spill. Scientists aren’t even yet sure of the extent of the massive spill, given that it was impossible to fully clean up the chemical-laden, carcinogenic oil.
“Three years after the initial explosion, the impacts of the disaster continue to unfold,” Doug Inkley, senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation and lead author of the report, said in a press release. “Dolphins are still dying in high numbers in the areas affected by oil. These ongoing deaths — particularly in an apex predator like the dolphin — are a strong indication that there is something amiss with the Gulf ecosystem.”
An infographic summarizes some of the findings.
The NWF also highlighted these findings:
* Dolphin deaths in the area affected by oil have remained above average every month since just before the spill began. (The infant dolphin data was gathered in January and February of 2013.)
* NOAA called the dolphin die-off “unprecedented” — a year ago. While NOAA is keeping many elements of its dolphin research confidential pending the conclusion of the ongoing trial, the agency has ruled out the most common causes of previous dolphin die-offs.
* More than 1,700 sea turtles were found stranded between May 2010 and November 2012 — the last date for which information is available. For comparison, on average about 240 sea turtles are stranded annually.
* A coral colony seven miles from the wellhead was badly damaged by oil. A recent laboratory study found that the mixture of oil and dispersant affected the ability of some coral species to build new parts of a reef. Read the full article