Climate change, dams, deforestation: vicious cycle in the Amazon

From VT News

Dams, mining, land-cover changes, and climate change are degrading the streams, rivers, lakes, and forests of the world’s largest river basin at unprecedented rates, according to scientists.

Most studies to date have focused on threats in streams and rivers, such as dams, or on land directly adjacent to them, such as deforestation. A new study by Virginia Tech and Woods Hole Research Center scientists evaluates the ...

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Rising Seas: fastest rate in 28 centuries

From the New York Times

by Justin Gillis

The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported Monday.

Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, ...

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World’s coral facing massive die-off

From The Guardian

Scientists have confirmed the third-ever global bleaching of coral reefs is under way and warned it could see the biggest coral die-off in history.

Since 2014, a massive underwater heatwave, driven by climate change, has caused corals to lose their brilliance and die in every ocean. By the end of this year 38% of the world’s reefs will have been affected. About 5% will have died forever.

But with a very strong El Niño driving record global temperatures ...

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Quinn Thomas leads a $2.6 million USDA project to mitigate climate change

From VT News

Quinn Thomas is launching a new project to enable scientists to look many decades ahead and predict the effectiveness of land management practices in agriculture and forestry to mitigate climate change.

“The project is focused on predicting how forest and agriculture management can be used to meet demands for food and fiber while having positive benefits on climate,” said Thomas, assistant professor of forest dynamics and ecosystem modeling in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental ...

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Bad weather provides insight into a bird’s life

From BioMed Central’s blognetwork

BMC Evolutionary Biology recently published work on the adaptation of tree swallows to challenging environmental conditions. When Mother Nature turned the focus of their experiment to this, they were surprised by what they found. Read more from the co-authors in this guest blog (October 19, 2015).


 

By Jenny Ouyang & Adam Lendvai, former post-docs from Ignacio Moore’s lab at Virginia Tech.

“Field work is hard. It’s hard because you have to get up early, work long ...

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Opinion: Naomi Oreskes on Climate Concealment

From the New York Times

October 8, 2015-  MILLIONS of Americans once wanted to smoke. Then they came to understand how deadly tobacco products were. Tragically, that understanding was long delayed because the tobacco industry worked for decades to hide the truth, promoting a message of scientific uncertainty instead.

The same thing has happened with climate change, as Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization, has been reporting in a series of ...

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Fall 2015 Lecture: Climate Change-Engineering Reality into the Debate

The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) presents:

The Fall 2015 installment of the High and Ethel Kelly Lecture Series 

Dr. Wayne Clough, Secretary Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution and President Emeritus of Georgia Tech
Lecture Title: Climate Change: Engineering Reality into the Debate.

Date: Friday, October 2, 2015
Time: 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Location: Squires Haymarket Theatre, 129 Squires Student Center

Wayne Clough served as the 10th President of the Georgia Institute of Technology from ...

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IGEPs discuss Merchants of Doubt documentary

merchantsThree Virginia Tech interdisciplinary graduate education programs (IGEPs) recently met in Torgerson Hall to discuss the documentary film, “Merchants of Doubt”. ...

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BBC News: Carbon credits undercut climate change actions

The vast majority of carbon credits generated by Russia and Ukraine did not represent cuts in emissions, according to a new study. The authors say that offsets created under a UN scheme “significantly undermined” efforts to tackle climate change. The credits may have increased emissions by 600 million tones. In some projects, chemicals known to warm the climate were created and then destroyed to claim cash.

As a result of political horse trading at UN negotiations ...

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Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Harvard historian and author, to give 2015 Distinguished Lecture

From VT News:

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 25, 2015 – Naomi Oreskes, a world-renowned science historian who focuses on understanding scientific consensus and dissent in relation to environmental science, will visit Virginia Tech on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

She will give a 4 p.m. distinguished lecture entitled “Should We Trust Science? Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science” at the Lyric Theatre, followed by a question and answer period and book signing.

The event, coordinated by the Global Change Center at Virginia ...

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GCC Seed Grant gains roots, bears fruits

Last fall, the Global Change Center released its first call for proposals to support interdisciplinary research. A team of VT researchers led by Dr. Cayelan Carey received ~$18,000 for their project titled, “Managing human needs and ecosystem services in drinking water reservoirs confronted with global change.” Dr. Carey’s team includes Dr. John LittleDr. Madeline Schreiber, and Dr. Quinn Thomas

This interdisciplinary group is currently examining the effects of altered climate on nutrient cycling and food web dynamics in four drinking-water reservoirs that supply Roanoke. Southeastern U.S. reservoirs are ...

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Science communication through music

Originally published at Ensia

When faced with the challenge of sharing the latest climate change discoveries, scientists often rely on data graphics and technical illustrations. University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford came up with a completely different approach. He’s using his cello to communicate the latest climate science through music.

Thermometer measurements show the average global temperature has risen about 1.4 °F (0.8 °C) since 1880. Typically, this warming is illustrated visually with line plots or ...

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New in Science: Polar bears fail to adapt to lack of food

From BBC NEWS

Polar bears are unable to adapt their behaviour to cope with the food losses associated with warmer summers in the Arctic. Scientists had believed that the animals would enter a type of ‘walking hibernation’ when deprived of prey. But new research says that that bears simply starve in hotter conditions when food is scarce.

The authors say that the implications for the survival of the species in a warmer world are grim.

Back in 2008 polar bears were  Read More →

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In a sweeping encyclical, the Pope calls for swift action on climate change

From the New York Times

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, as his much-awaited papal encyclical blended a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action.

The vision that Francis outlined in the 184-page encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He described a relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment, for which ...

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Naomi Oreskes, Climate Change Lightening Rod

From the New York Times (June 15, 2015)

The job interviewer scrutinized the young American geology student sitting across from him. She was about to graduate from the Royal School of Mines in London, and was trying to break into a field long unwelcoming to women.

What, he wanted to know, might she have to contribute to the geology of mining? Naomi Oreskes had a simple answer: “I want to find ...

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Texas: a history of flooding is compounded by development and warming impacts

From the New York Times

The holiday and the type of hazard have changed, but once again fast-growing Texas is seeing outsize (and tragic) impacts from extreme weather events. On Labor Day weekend in 2011, the disaster was heat- and drought-fueled fires that whipped through the exurbs east of Austin, most of which didn’t exist just a few decades earlier. Now, Houston is flooded and Hays County, west of Austin, is still in search and rescue mode after Memorial Day weekend flash flooding ...

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