Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Ellie Cohen, President and CEO, Point Blue Conservation Science

Author Archives: ecohen

  1. EPA Launches Broad Collaborative of External Stakeholders to Advance Green Infrastructure

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    EPA Launches Broad Collaborative of External Stakeholders to Advance Green Infrastructure

    EPA’s Green Infrastructure Program and the White House Council on Environmental Quality have launched a broad collaborative of external stakeholders to advance the implementation of green infrastructure. The Green Infrastructure Collaborative will leverage efforts from the federal family, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and academia to advance green infrastructure as a means of supporting water quality and community development goals. As part of the announcement, EPA released a Statement of Support outlining specific commitments from Collaborative members to advance cooperation and coordination on green infrastructure initiatives.  The Collaborative will build capacity for green infrastructure by providing a platform for national stakeholders to:

    • Leverage joint efforts to promote the multiple community benefits of green infrastructure;
    • Share and build knowledge around emerging green infrastructure technologies and policy issues; and
    • Facilitate shared inquiry into the best ways to encourage adoption of green infrastructure technologies at the local level.
    • The Collaborative will build on the Green Infrastructure Partnership launched in 2007 by EPA and its founding partner organizations.
    • For more information, see the Collaborative’s website or the White House fact sheet.  

       

     

    To join greenstream, an EPA listserv featuring updates on green infrastructure publications, training, and funding opportunities, send an email to join-greenstream@lists.epa.gov. To learn more about the relationship between green infrastructure and low impact development please visit EPA’s Low Impact Development Page.

     

    EPA Releases “Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans”

    EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries program has published Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans as a resource for environmental managers and planners. This publication provides much needed guidance for conducting risk-based climate change vulnerability assessments and developing adaptation action plans. The workbook helps users to identify, analyze and prioritize climate change risks. In developing an action plan, it guides users to address their most pressing risks and find appropriate responses. Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present. By using the workbook and addressing climate change in their systems, users will be ready to protect environmental resources, public safety, and infrastructure. Learn more about the Being Prepared for Climate Change workbook tools to help increase resiliency and tackle climate change in your own place. Watch a video about the new workbook.

  2. Fish moving poleward at rate of 26 kilometres per decade

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    Caribbean islands (stock image). “The tropics will be the overall losers,” says William Cheung, associate professor at the UBC Fisheries Centre and co-author of this study. “This area has a high dependence on fish for food, diet and nutrition. We’ll see a loss of fish populations that are important to the fisheries and communities in these regions.”

    Fish moving poleward at rate of 26 kilometres per decade

    Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:38 AM PDT

    Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of Britsh Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots for local fish extinction but also found that changing temperatures will drive more fish into the Arctic and Antarctic waters. Using the same climate change scenarios as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, researchers projected a large-scale shift of marine fish and invertebrates. In the worst-case scenario, where the Earth’s oceans warm by three degrees Celsius by 2100, fish could move away from their current habitats at a rate of 26 kilometres per decade. Under the best-case scenario, where the Earth warms by one degree Celsius, fish would move 15 kilometres every decade. This is consistent with changes in the last few decades….

     

    M. C. Jones, W. W. L. Cheung. Multi-model ensemble projections of climate change effects on global marine biodiversity. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsu172

  3. What’s the role of the deep ocean in global warming? Climate contrarians get this wrong

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    What’s the role of the deep ocean in global warming? Climate contrarians get this wrong

    Posted on 10 October 2014 by Guest Author This is a re-post from Greg Laden’s Blog

    I’ve already posted on a study published in Nature Climate change that shows that the amount of extra global warming related heat in the Southern Oceans is greater than previously thought. There is another paper in the same journal by Llovel et al, “Deep-ocean contribution to sea level and energy budget not detectable over the past decade.” This paper verifies previous research that the oceans absorb a lot of the excess heat, but looks specifically at the ocean below 2,000 meters, which the paper referrs to in places as “deep” but that we should probably call “abyssal.”1 The paper concludes that the abyss is not warming. This is bad news, because if it was warming the total effects of global warming on the surface would be potentially less, or at least, stretched out over a longer period of time. But, it is not unexpected news. We already suspected that the abyssal ocean does not absorb much of the surface heat, while the shallower ocean absorbs quite a bit. Research done prior to 2012 (e.g. Hansen et al 2011) parceled out the energy imbalance the Earth experiences from anthropogenic global warming. The extra heat caused by AGW from 2004 to 2010 was divided among the upper ocean (71%), the deep ocean (5%), with the rest going various other places (only 4% over land). The new paper suggests that the abyssal ocean takes up closer to zero heat. There are three complexities you need to be aware of to interpret this finding. First is the complexity in the climate system, second is the complexity of the research itself, and third is the relatively straight forward statistical problem of assigning meaning to specific numbers. That third one is important for journalists and regular people to pay attention to, because the climate science denial community is already exploiting it to misrepresent this study….So, we have changing quality of data, a data set that is growing incrementally over time, studies that look at slightly different time and space parameters. And, on top of this, we have the increasingly advanced methods of figuring this all out. Both of the Nature Climate Change studies used a combination of direct measurements of temperature at various depths, a measurement of the altitude of the top of the ocean (sea level) from highly accurate satellite instruments, and measures of the mass of the water in the ocean, from the GRAIL gravity research project. If the mass of the ocean stays the same (same number of water molecules) but the surface rises, that is from heat, and that allows an estimate of energy imbalance. If the ocean goes up more than it should from heat expansion, the extra may be from glacial melting. And that is the simple version….But for some reason we see various individuals, including sadly at least one climate scientist (Judith Curry: “Evidence of deep ocean cooling?“), but mostly anti-science climate trolls, crowing that the “deep ocean” is cooling therefore we are not experiencing global warming. However, the truth is that the total amount of heat that is going into the ocean, instead of the atmosphere or other places, was thought to be large, is still known to be large, and in fact is larger than we were originally thinking (from these papers and several others that have come out recently). And, the contribution of the abyss ocean to both sea level rise and energy imbalance is statistically nil. It might be negative, it might be positive, but it is tiny either way. The deep ocean, on the other hand, is in strong positive energy balance.

    ________________

    1The terminology used in this discussion and some of the research papers (or reporting thereof) is a bit confused. Climate scientists have repeatedly said that heat is going into the “deep ocean” and this paper seems to say it is not. But it is. It is a matter of terminology. This is a source of confusion sometimes exploited by climate science denialists. A good way to define these terms is as follows:

    Shallow ocean = 0-700 meters
    Deep ocean = 700-2,000 meters
    Abyss = > 2,000 meters

    1. Hansen, J., Mki. Sato, P. Kharecha, and K. von Schuckmann, 2011: Earth’s energy imbalance and implications. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 13421–13449, doi:10.5194/acp–11–13421–2011.
    2. Llovel, W. J. K. Willis, F. W. Landerer, I. Fukumori. 2014. Deep-ocean contribution to sea level and energy budget not detectable over the past decade. Nature Climate Change, 5 October.
  4. Sea level rise over past century unmatched in 6,000 years, says study

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    Sea level rise over past century unmatched in 6,000 years, says study

    Research finds 20cm rise since start of 20th century, caused by global warming and the melting of polar ice, is unprecedented

    Oliver Milman
    theguardian.com, Monday 13 October 2014 15.00 EDT

    Adelie penguins in east Antarctica. Although most melting of continent’s ice is happening in the west, even the east is now shedding ice Photograph: STAFF/REUTERS

    The rise in sea levels seen over the past century is unmatched by any period in the past 6,000 years, according to a lengthy analysis of historical sea level trends. The reconstruction of 35,000 years of sea level fluctuations finds that there is no evidence that levels changed by more than 20cm in a relatively steady period that lasted between 6,000 years ago and about 150 years ago. This makes the past century extremely unusual in the historical record, with about a 20cm rise in global sea levels since the start of the 20th century. Scientists have identified rising temperatures, which have caused polar ice to melt and thermal expansion of the sea, as a primary cause of the sea level increase. A two-decade-long collection of about 1,000 ancient sediment samples off Britain, north America, Greenland and the Seychelles formed the basis of the research, led by the Australian National University and published in PNAS

  5. Climate change in our backyards: the reshuffling of North America’s winter bird communities

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    Climate change alters cast of winter birds

    October 17, 2014 Phys.org

     

    Over the past two decades, the resident communities of birds that attend eastern North America’s backyard bird feeders in winter have quietly been remade, most likely as a result of a warming climate. Writing this week in the journal Global Change Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison wildlife biologists Benjamin Zuckerberg and Karine Princé document that once rare wintering bird species are now commonplace in the American Northeast. Using more than two decades of data on 38 species of birds gathered by thousands of “citizen scientists” through the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch, the Wisconsin researchers show that birds typically found in more southerly regions are gradually pushing north, restructuring the communities of birds that spend their winters in northern latitudes.

     

    To the causal observer of backyard birds, the list of species becoming more common includes the readily familiar: cardinals, chipping sparrows and Carolina wrens. These birds and other warm-adapted species, according to Princé and Zuckerberg, have greatly expanded their wintering range in a warmer world, a change that may have untold consequences for North American ecosystems.
    “Fifty years ago, cardinals were rare in the northeastern United States. Carolina wrens even more so,” explains Zuckerberg, a UW-Madison assistant professor of forest and wildlife ecology.
    An estimated 53 million Americans maintain feeding stations near their homes, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, suggesting that increases in some species may be attributable to more readily available sources of food. However, that figure has remained constant, reflecting only a slight decline since 1991, indicating that environmental factors beyond the availability of food sources are at play.

     

    The Wisconsin researchers measured the changes over time in the abundance of 38 bird species at feeders in eastern North America, specifically looking at the influence of changes in winter minimum temperature over a 22-year period on the flocks of birds that gather at backyard feeding stations.”We conclude that a shifting winter climate has provided an opportunity for smaller, southerly distributed species to colonize new regions and promote the formation of unique winter bird assemblages throughout eastern North America,” Princé and Zuckerberg write in their Global Change Biology report.

     

    “People will likely start seeing new species in their backyards,” says Princé, a UW-Madison postdoctoral fellow. “There can also be subtle changes in species abundance.”

    The changes in the mix of overwintering bird species is occurring against a backdrop of milder winters with less snow, more variable and intense precipitation events, and a shorter snow season, overall. Climate models predict even warmer temperatures occurring over the next 100 years, with seasonal climate effects being the most pronounced in northern regions of the world.

    “We’ve been able to document in past studies that species are shifting in response to climate change,” Zuckerberg says. “This study documents changes in the (winter bird) community structure. If you have a species coming into a new area, it can modify the composition of the community.” In any ecosystem, Zuckerberg notes, removing or introducing even a single species can have a cascade of ecological consequences, many of them unknown. “These backyard birds are the canaries in the coal mine,” Zuckerberg says. “Birds have always been very good indicators of environmental change. Whenever you have a reshuffling of a community of species, you have less of a sense of what change is going to be.” Princé notes that other environmental changes, such as the pervasive human impact on landscape, for example, may also be exerting an influence on the observed changes in the composition of birds attending winter feeding stations in eastern North America.

    “Climate change should not be viewed as the sole driver of changes in winter bird communities, but this signal is a pretty strong one for climate change,” she explains. “The changes we document are so broad in scope that anything that is occurring at a local level is swamped out by the scale of this analysis.”

     

    Climate change in our backyards: the reshuffling of North America’s winter bird communities

    Karine Princé* and Benjamin Zuckerberg Article first published online: 16 OCT 2014

    Global Change Biology
    DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12740

    Abstract

    Much of the recent changes in North American climate have occurred during the winter months, and as result, overwintering birds represent important sentinels of anthropogenic climate change. While there is mounting evidence that bird populations are responding to a warming climate (e.g., poleward shifts) questions remain as to whether these species-specific responses are resulting in community-wide changes. Here, we test the hypothesis that a changing winter climate should favor the formation of winter bird communities dominated by warm-adapted species. To do this, we quantified changes in community composition using a functional index – the Community Temperature Index (CTI) – which measures the balance between low- and high-temperature dwelling species in a community. Using data from Project FeederWatch, an international citizen science program, we quantified spatiotemporal changes in winter bird communities (= 38 bird species) across eastern North America and tested the influence of changes in winter minimum temperature over a 22-year period. We implemented a jackknife analysis to identify those species most influential in driving changes at the community level and the population dynamics (e.g., extinction or colonization) responsible for these community changes. Since 1990, we found that the winter bird community structure has changed with communities increasingly composed of warm-adapted species. This reshuffling of winter bird communities was strongest in southerly latitudes and driven primarily by local increases in abundance and regional patterns of colonization by southerly birds. CTI tracked patterns of changing winter temperature at different temporal scales ranging from 1 to 35 years. We conclude that a shifting winter climate has provided an opportunity for smaller, southerly distributed species to colonize new regions and promote the formation of unique winter bird assemblages throughout eastern North America.

     

     

  6. Conservation Science News October 17, 2014

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    Focus of the Week – Climate change in our backyards: the reshuffling of North America’s winter bird communities

     

    1-ECOLOGY, BIODIVERSITY, RELATED

    2-CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTREME EVENTS with special DROUGHT section

    3- ADAPTATION and HOPE

    4- POLICY

    5- RENEWABLES, ENERGY AND RELATED

    6-
    RESOURCES and REFERENCES

    7-OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST 

    8-IMAGES OF THE WEEK

    ——————————–

    NOTE: Please pass on my weekly news update that has been prepared for
    Point Blue Conservation Science
    staff.  You can find these weekly compilations posted on line
    by clicking here.  For more information please see www.pointblue.org.


    The items contained in this update were drawn from www.dailyclimate.org, www.sciencedaily.com, SER The Society for Ecological Restorationhttp://news.google.com, www.climateprogress.org, www.slate.com, www.sfgate.com, The Wildlife Society NewsBrief, CA BLM NewsBytes and other sources as indicated.  This is a compilation of information available on-line, not verified and not endorsed by Point Blue Conservation Science.  
    You can sign up for this news compilation by signing up for the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative Newsletter or the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium listserve to receive this. You can also email me directly at Ellie Cohen, ecohen at pointblue.org with questions or suggestions. 

    Founded as Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Point Blue’s 140 scientists advance nature-based solutions to climate change, habitat loss and other environmental threats to benefit wildlife and people, through bird and ecosystem science, partnerships and outreach.  We work collaboratively to guide and inspire positive conservation outcomes today — for a healthy, blue planet teeming with life in the future.  Read more about our 5-year strategic approach here.

     

     

    Focus of the Week- Climate change in our backyards: the reshuffling of North America’s winter bird communities

     

    Climate change alters cast of winter birds

    October 17, 2014 Phys.org

     

    Over the past two decades, the resident communities of birds that attend eastern North America’s backyard bird feeders in winter have quietly been remade, most likely as a result of a warming climate. Writing this week in the journal Global Change Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison wildlife biologists Benjamin Zuckerberg and Karine Princé document that once rare wintering bird species are now commonplace in the American Northeast. Using more than two decades of data on 38 species of birds gathered by thousands of “citizen scientists” through the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch, the Wisconsin researchers show that birds typically found in more southerly regions are gradually pushing north, restructuring the communities of birds that spend their winters in northern latitudes.

     

    To the causal observer of backyard birds, the list of species becoming more common includes the readily familiar: cardinals, chipping sparrows and Carolina wrens. These birds and other warm-adapted species, according to Princé and Zuckerberg, have greatly expanded their wintering range in a warmer world, a change that may have untold consequences for North American ecosystems.
    “Fifty years ago, cardinals were rare in the northeastern United States. Carolina wrens even more so,” explains Zuckerberg, a UW-Madison assistant professor of forest and wildlife ecology.
    An estimated 53 million Americans maintain feeding stations near their homes, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, suggesting that increases in some species may be attributable to more readily available sources of food. However, that figure has remained constant, reflecting only a slight decline since 1991, indicating that environmental factors beyond the availability of food sources are at play.

     

    The Wisconsin researchers measured the changes over time in the abundance of 38 bird species at feeders in eastern North America, specifically looking at the influence of changes in winter minimum temperature over a 22-year period on the flocks of birds that gather at backyard feeding stations.”We conclude that a shifting winter climate has provided an opportunity for smaller, southerly distributed species to colonize new regions and promote the formation of unique winter bird assemblages throughout eastern North America,” Princé and Zuckerberg write in their Global Change Biology report.

     

    “People will likely start seeing new species in their backyards,” says Princé, a UW-Madison postdoctoral fellow. “There can also be subtle changes in species abundance.”

    The changes in the mix of overwintering bird species is occurring against a backdrop of milder winters with less snow, more variable and intense precipitation events, and a shorter snow season, overall. Climate models predict even warmer temperatures occurring over the next 100 years, with seasonal climate effects being the most pronounced in northern regions of the world.

    “We’ve been able to document in past studies that species are shifting in response to climate change,” Zuckerberg says. “This study documents changes in the (winter bird) community structure. If you have a species coming into a new area, it can modify the composition of the community.” In any ecosystem, Zuckerberg notes, removing or introducing even a single species can have a cascade of ecological consequences, many of them unknown. “These backyard birds are the canaries in the coal mine,” Zuckerberg says. “Birds have always been very good indicators of environmental change. Whenever you have a reshuffling of a community of species, you have less of a sense of what change is going to be.” Princé notes that other environmental changes, such as the pervasive human impact on landscape, for example, may also be exerting an influence on the observed changes in the composition of birds attending winter feeding stations in eastern North America.

    “Climate change should not be viewed as the sole driver of changes in winter bird communities, but this signal is a pretty strong one for climate change,” she explains. “The changes we document are so broad in scope that anything that is occurring at a local level is swamped out by the scale of this analysis.”

     

    Climate change in our backyards: the reshuffling of North America’s winter bird communities

    Karine Princé* and Benjamin Zuckerberg Article first published online: 16 OCT 2014

    Global Change Biology
    DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12740

    Abstract

    Much of the recent changes in North American climate have occurred during the winter months, and as result, overwintering birds represent important sentinels of anthropogenic climate change. While there is mounting evidence that bird populations are responding to a warming climate (e.g., poleward shifts) questions remain as to whether these species-specific responses are resulting in community-wide changes. Here, we test the hypothesis that a changing winter climate should favor the formation of winter bird communities dominated by warm-adapted species. To do this, we quantified changes in community composition using a functional index – the Community Temperature Index (CTI) – which measures the balance between low- and high-temperature dwelling species in a community. Using data from Project FeederWatch, an international citizen science program, we quantified spatiotemporal changes in winter bird communities (= 38 bird species) across eastern North America and tested the influence of changes in winter minimum temperature over a 22-year period. We implemented a jackknife analysis to identify those species most influential in driving changes at the community level and the population dynamics (e.g., extinction or colonization) responsible for these community changes. Since 1990, we found that the winter bird community structure has changed with communities increasingly composed of warm-adapted species. This reshuffling of winter bird communities was strongest in southerly latitudes and driven primarily by local increases in abundance and regional patterns of colonization by southerly birds. CTI tracked patterns of changing winter temperature at different temporal scales ranging from 1 to 35 years. We conclude that a shifting winter climate has provided an opportunity for smaller, southerly distributed species to colonize new regions and promote the formation of unique winter bird assemblages throughout eastern North America.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This abandoned beaver pond in Voyageurs National Park still has many water pockets that provide valuable habitat. Credit: Image courtesy of South Dakota State University

    How beavers have affected ecosystem at Voyageurs National Park

    Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:03 PM PDT

    Felling trees, building dams and creating ponds -— beavers have a unique ability to alter the landscape in ways that are beneficial to other organisms, according to one expert who is researching how beavers have affected the ecosystem at Voyageurs National Park near International Falls, Minnesota…. “Beavers influence the environment at a rate far beyond what would be expected given their abundance,” said Johnston, who has been doing beaver research since the 1980s and authored or co-authored 28 of the 37 articles in the compilation. Beavers create patchiness because they cut down big trees and make dams that flood the landscape creating wet meadows and marshy vegetation, Johnston explained. However, historical and aerial photos from 1927 and 1940 showed solid forests, meaning little evidence of beaver activity. From the 1940s through the 1980s, the beaver population in the nearly 218,000-acre park increased steadily, according to Johnston. By 1986, 13 percent of the landscape was impounded by beavers. “We saw lots of ponds where before there were none,” she said. In addition to duck and amphibians, moose and upland mammals use this habitat extensively. “Having beaver on the landscape creates a lot of biodiversity.” Since 1991, the number of beavers has begun to decrease, Johnston pointed out. However, thanks to National Park Service officials mapping the active beaver lodges, she can now relate the population data to changes in the landscape. “It’s unusual to have both those types of data for such a large area,” she said. That will allow her to track what happens to the landscape when beaver numbers are reduced. Both predation and depleted food supply may account for the beavers’ decline. “Aspen is the preferred food,” she said, noting beavers don’t hibernate and must rely on having a large supply of edible food in their underwater cache to survive the winter. Beavers forage up to 110 yards from the pond edge, creating what Johnston calls a “bathtub ring of conifers” when most of the aspen and deciduous trees have been harvested. Venturing beyond that comfort zone makes them susceptible to predators, she pointed out. “Beavers are a preferred prey for wolves.”

    RELATED:

    http://etal.usu.edu/Downloads/BRAT/UTAH_BRAT_FinalReport.pdf– Utah uses Beavers for water restoration. They just completed the BRAT tool for the ENTIRE STATE.

     

    A nightingale in song. Nightingales and other species are under threat from rising deer numbers. Photograph: Alamy

    Britain’s migrating birds are drastically declining, RSPB says

    Nightingale and turtle dove among populations that have seen dramatic long-term fall in number, annual RSPB report says

    Adam Vaughan
    The Guardian, Wednesday 15 October 2014

    Bird populations that make the great journey between northern Europe and Africa – including the nightingale and turtle dove – are drastically declining, conservationists have warned. Nearly half of the 29 summer migrants, who appear in the UK in spring to breed before returning in the autumn, show long-term population declines. The nightingale, famed for its song and for inspiring English poets, is one of a group of birds that spend winter in the African humid zone of Sierra Leone, Senegal, the Gambia and Burkina Faso that are suffering particularly badly. Of this group of 11 humid zone species, eight are declining in number. Other migrants such as cuckoos, whinchats and spotted flycatchers are being found in the UK at half the number they were two decades ago. The birds face pressures in the UK, on their journey between continents and in Africa too, according to the annual State of the UK’s Birds report by the RSPB and seven other nature organisations. It is the first time the report has grouped the health of birds by their migration strategies. In the UK, birds have lost habitat to farmland and housing. Nightingales and other species are under threat from rising deer numbers, as the deer browse on young woodland. On their great journeys across the Mediterranean, many birds are also shot and caught in nets; an estimated 2 to 4 million turtle doves are killed in southern European countries each year, contributing to the 95% decline in turtle dove populations since 1970….Not all of the 29 summer migrants are doing so badly. Those that winter north of the Sahara, such as blackcaps and chiffchaffs, have seen substantial increases since the mid-1980s. But overall, the report shows, populations of migrants are doing much worse than species that don’t migrate and are comparatively stable in number. Knowledge of the routes migrants take is still relatively patchy, but has begun to improve as increasingly small and affordable GPS tagging has been developed. A cuckoo-tracking project that started in 2011 has shown that while each bird tends to take different routes, individuals show a “lot of consistency” and tend to stick to their routes, Hayhow said. Such technology would help target research and conservation efforts along the migrants’ routes, he said.

     

    The state of the UK’s birds 2014 (2.1Mb)

    A detailed look at the fortunes of birds throughout the UK and in its Overseas Territories in 2014.

     

     

     

     

    Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the Planet for Wildlife?

    The eminent evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has an audacious vision for saving Earth from a cataclysmic extinction event

    By Tony Hiss Smithsonian Magazine | September 2014

    “Battles are where the fun is,” said E.O. Wilson, the great evolutionary biologist, “and where the most rapid advances are made.” We were sitting in oversized rocking chairs in a northwest Florida guest cottage with two deep porches and half-gallons of butter-pecan ice cream in the freezer, a Wilson favorite. He’d invited me here to look at what he considers a new approach to conservation, a new ecological Grail that, naturally, won’t happen without a fight. Wilson, 85, is the author of more than 25 books, many of which have changed scientific understanding of human nature and of how the living part of the planet is put together. Known as the father of sociobiology, he is also hailed as the pre-eminent champion of biodiversity: Wilson coined the word “biophilia” to suggest that people have an innate affinity for other species, and his now widely accepted “theory of island biogeography” explains why national parks and all confined landscapes inevitably lose species. He grew up in and around Mobile, Alabama, and has been at Harvard for over 60 years but still calls himself “a Southern boy who came north to earn a living.” He is courtly, twinkly, soft-spoken, has a shock of unruly white hair, and is slightly stooped from bending over to look at small things all his life—he’s the world’s leading authority on ants. Wilson has earned more than a hundred scientific awards and other honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. And perhaps his most urgent project is a quest to refute conservation skeptics who think there isn’t enough left of the natural world to be worth saving.
    Throughout the 544 million or so years since hard-shelled animals first appeared, there has been a slow increase in the number of plants and animals on the planet, despite five mass extinction events. The high point of biodiversity likely coincided with the moment modern humans left Africa and spread out across the globe 60,000 years ago. As people arrived, other species faltered and vanished, slowly at first and now with such acceleration that Wilson talks of a coming “biological holocaust,” the sixth mass extinction event, the only one caused not by some cataclysm but by a single species—us. Wilson recently calculated that the only way humanity could stave off a mass extinction crisis, as devastating as the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, would be to set aside half the planet as permanently protected areas for the ten million other species. “Half Earth,” in other words, as I began calling it—half for us, half for them. A version of this idea has been in circulation among conservationists for some time. “It’s been in my mind for years,” Wilson told me, “that people haven’t been thinking big enough—even conservationists. Half Earth is the goal, but it’s how we get there, and whether we can come up with a system of wild landscapes we can hang onto. I see a chain of uninterrupted corridors forming, with twists and turns, some of them opening up to become wide enough to accommodate national biodiversity parks, a new kind of park that won’t let species vanish.”…

     

    Rivers flow differently over gravel beds

    Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:59 AM PDT

    River beds, where flowing water meets silt, sand and gravel, are critical ecological zones. Yet how water flows in a river with a gravel bed is very different from the traditional model of a sandy river bed, according to a new study that compares their fluid dynamics. The findings establish new parameters for river modeling that better represent reality, with implications for field researchers and water resource managers.

     

    Loss of big predators could leave herbivores in a thorny situation

    Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:37 AM PDT

    Global declines in carnivore populations could embolden plant eaters to increasingly dine on succulent vegetation, driving losses in plant and tree biodiversity, according to new research published in Science.

     

    Marsh harrier population underwent a dramatic population decline in the eighties.Credit: Marcos Lacasa

    New data about endangered marsh harrier distribution in Europe

    October 17, 2014 University of Barcelona

    The use of ringing recoveries — a conventional method used to study bird migration — in combination with more modern techniques such as species distribution modelling and stable isotope analysis is useful to understand better bird distribution patterns and origin considering place and time of the year….”Results indicate that current marsh harrier distribution in the Iberian Peninsula is not only limited by environmental variables during the breeding season,” explains researcher Laura Cardador. “There are other factors that lead individuals to join other groups (conespecific attraction),” she adds. “These factors — she affirms — slow down the process of expansion and explain, to some extent, species absence in certain wet areas which are apparently suitable for birds.”

    On the contrary, in winter, distribution is exclusively constrained by climate and environmental factors because migrant harriers occupy preferable the areas with better climate conditions, independently of localization. Particularly, they occupy some eastern Mediterranean coastal areas where the species has not bred for more than a decade. “Data obtained from ring recoveries and stable isotope analyses confirm that most marsh harriers wintering in the Iberian Peninsula are migrant birds from central and northern Europe and only some of them are resident birds. The geographical origin of individuals varies according to the wintering area,” explain authors. Results prove that bird populations that inhabit the Iberian Peninsula during the wintering season are exposed to different ecological conditions depending on their origin. These studies contribute to understand better why different populations — which seem to be exposed to the same conditions at their origin — show different trends and conservation status due only to their segregation at wintering areas. Moreover, both studies also prove that ring recoveries continue to be an effective tool to analyse the information obtained by using more modern techniques. According to Santi Mañosa and Laura Cardador, “in short, this multidisciplinary approach enables us to get a more integrated view of ecology and bird conservation problems in Europe.”

    1. Laura Cardador, Francesc Sardà-Palomera, Martina Carrete, Santi Mañosa. Incorporating spatial constraints in different periods of the annual cycle improves species distribution model performance for a highly mobile bird species. Diversity and Distributions, 2014; 20 (5): 515 DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12156
    2. Laura Cardador, Joan Navarro, Manuela G. Forero, Keith A. Hobson, Santi Mañosa. Breeding origin and spatial distribution of migrant and resident harriers in a Mediterranean wintering area: insights from isotopic analyses, ring recoveries and species distribution modelling. Journal of Ornithology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10336-014-1122-0

     

    Plant communities produce greater yield than monocultures

    Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:54 AM PDT

    Diverse plant communities are more successful and enable higher crop yields than pure monocultures, a research team has discovered. The scientists are convinced that the cultivation of crop mixtures in agriculture and forestry will play a key role in food safety in the future.

     

     

    Researchers assess risks to wildlife and ecosystems posed by pharmaceuticals

    Phys.Org

     - ‎October 14, 2014‎

           

    For example, one article examines the long-term effects of the hormone used in the contraceptive pill on aquatic ecosystems and sheds light on how severe declines in one sensitive fish species can cause negative changes to the whole food web in a lake.

     

    Britain on brink of freshwater species ‘invasion’ from south east Europe

    Posted: 13 Oct 2014 06:06 AM PDT

    New research shows multiple invasive species with the same origin facilitate each other’s ability to colonize ecosystems. By studying how these species interact as well as current population locations, researchers believe that Britain is heading for an ‘invasion meltdown’ of freshwater species from south east Europe.

     

     

     

    It Was The Perfect Fish Study — Until Nature Messed It Up

    Why do some fish choose to live at sea while others stay home? NOAA researchers in Santa Cruz were excited to look for an answer. Then drought intervened.

    by Elizabeth Devitt on October 13, 2014 Bay Nature

    Researchers aren’t sure why some smolt decide to swim to the ocean and become steelhead (like this one), while others stay in the river as rainbow trout. (Photo courtesy NOAA/NMFS)

    When the San Clemente Dam in Carmel Valley gets demolished next year, steelhead trout will get 25 miles of an open-water, upriver swim to find their spawning sites – something the seafaring fish haven’t had since the 106-foot-high dam was built in 1921. For scientists, the dam removal project presented the chance to study the threatened Central Coast trout before, and after, the river restoration. The setup seemed ideal: scientists could take advantage of the meticulously planned project to design simple studies that would yield high-quality research data. But, to borrow a line from Steinbeck, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Especially in scientific studies that need nature to cooperate. This year’s drought turned simple research projects into long lessons about the ways scientists have to adapt to save their studies when real life intervenes.

    “It’s typical of field projects to start with one design and then have nature throws curveballs at it,” said David Boughton, a research ecologist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz. “But this took it to a whole new level.”…

     

     

    SF Bay Restoration- PBS NewsHour October 9, 2014

    Climate change and resulting rising sea levels threaten a number of dwindling species in the San Francisco Bay Area. A new restoration project transforms industrial salt ponds into thriving marshland habitats to provide a new home for rodents, birds and fish. The NewsHour’s Cat Wise reports on another benefit: increased flood protection for human residents. –8 minutes on the News Hour on San Francisco Bay wetlands restoration and sea level rise, featuring project manager John Bourgeois, CA DFW’s John Kraus, flood challenges in Alviso, and much more. And take one more minute for this bonus feature on the critical transition zone marsh areas

     

    Creep in 4 faults means big quake may be poised to hit

    By David PerlmanUpdated 8:15 am, Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    Four highly stressed seismic faults in the Bay Area’s densely populated San Andreas system are moving on the surface and could rupture in a major earthquake at any time, according to scientists tracking their movements. The faults include the Calaveras, which runs roughly from Hollister (San Benito County) to Danville; the Hayward, between Suisun Bay and San Jose; the Rodgers Creek Fault in southern Sonoma County; and the Green Valley Fault near Richmond and Fremont. “The extent of fault creep controls the size and timing of large earthquakes, and measuring that creep rate helps tell us how much strain is building up on the faults underground — although it can’t tell us when a fault will rupture in a quake,” said geophysicist James J. Lienkaemper of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, who led the study….

     

     

     

     

     

    Sea level rise over past century unmatched in 6,000 years, says study

    Research finds 20cm rise since start of 20th century, caused by global warming and the melting of polar ice, is unprecedented

    Oliver Milman
    theguardian.com, Monday 13 October 2014 15.00 EDT

    Adelie penguins in east Antarctica. Although most melting of continent’s ice is happening in the west, even the east is now shedding ice Photograph: STAFF/REUTERS

    The rise in sea levels seen over the past century is unmatched by any period in the past 6,000 years, according to a lengthy analysis of historical sea level trends. The reconstruction of 35,000 years of sea level fluctuations finds that there is no evidence that levels changed by more than 20cm in a relatively steady period that lasted between 6,000 years ago and about 150 years ago. This makes the past century extremely unusual in the historical record, with about a 20cm rise in global sea levels since the start of the 20th century. Scientists have identified rising temperatures, which have caused polar ice to melt and thermal expansion of the sea, as a primary cause of the sea level increase. A two-decade-long collection of about 1,000 ancient sediment samples off Britain, north America, Greenland and the Seychelles formed the basis of the research, led by the Australian National University and published in PNAS

     

     

    NASA: Hottest September On Record Globally Pushes 2014 Closer To Hottest Year On Record

    by Joe Romm Posted on October 13, 2014

    Last month was the warmest September globally since records began being kept in 1880, NASA reported Sunday. January through September data have 2014 already at the third warmest on record. Projections by NOAA make clear 2014 is taking aim at hottest year on record.

    Remarkably, this September record occurred even though we’re still waiting for the start of El Niño, which reveals just how strong the underlying trend of human-caused warming is. It’s usually the combination of the long-term manmade warming trend and the regional El Niño warming pattern that leads to new global temperature records.

    In this country, temperatures were quite hot in the West, and just “normal” or very close to the 1951-1980 average in the East, as this NASA chart shows:

    For the second month in a row, it was so hot over West Antarctica, that NASA had to put in the color brown to cover the 4°C to 8.7°C (7°F to over 15°F!) anomalous warmth. But given how far away the South Pole is, why should we get concerned about it when D.C. is having such a pleasant fall? Sure, recent studies have found that the huge glaciers in the West Antarctic ice sheet “have begun the process of irreversible collapse,” but it’s not like “many of the world’s coastal cities would eventually have to be abandoned” if that keeps up, is it?

     

     


    What’s the role of the deep ocean in global warming? Climate contrarians get this wrong

    Posted on 10 October 2014 by Guest Author This is a re-post from Greg Laden’s Blog

    I’ve already posted on a study published in Nature Climate change that shows that the amount of extra global warming related heat in the Southern Oceans is greater than previously thought. There is another paper in the same journal by Llovel et al, “Deep-ocean contribution to sea level and energy budget not detectable over the past decade.” This paper verifies previous research that the oceans absorb a lot of the excess heat, but looks specifically at the ocean below 2,000 meters, which the paper referrs to in places as “deep” but that we should probably call “abyssal.”1 The paper concludes that the abyss is not warming. This is bad news, because if it was warming the total effects of global warming on the surface would be potentially less, or at least, stretched out over a longer period of time. But, it is not unexpected news. We already suspected that the abyssal ocean does not absorb much of the surface heat, while the shallower ocean absorbs quite a bit. Research done prior to 2012 (e.g. Hansen et al 2011) parceled out the energy imbalance the Earth experiences from anthropogenic global warming. The extra heat caused by AGW from 2004 to 2010 was divided among the upper ocean (71%), the deep ocean (5%), with the rest going various other places (only 4% over land). The new paper suggests that the abyssal ocean takes up closer to zero heat. There are three complexities you need to be aware of to interpret this finding. First is the complexity in the climate system, second is the complexity of the research itself, and third is the relatively straight forward statistical problem of assigning meaning to specific numbers. That third one is important for journalists and regular people to pay attention to, because the climate science denial community is already exploiting it to misrepresent this study….So, we have changing quality of data, a data set that is growing incrementally over time, studies that look at slightly different time and space parameters. And, on top of this, we have the increasingly advanced methods of figuring this all out. Both of the Nature Climate Change studies used a combination of direct measurements of temperature at various depths, a measurement of the altitude of the top of the ocean (sea level) from highly accurate satellite instruments, and measures of the mass of the water in the ocean, from the GRAIL gravity research project. If the mass of the ocean stays the same (same number of water molecules) but the surface rises, that is from heat, and that allows an estimate of energy imbalance. If the ocean goes up more than it should from heat expansion, the extra may be from glacial melting. And that is the simple version….But for some reason we see various individuals, including sadly at least one climate scientist (Judith Curry: “Evidence of deep ocean cooling?“), but mostly anti-science climate trolls, crowing that the “deep ocean” is cooling therefore we are not experiencing global warming. However, the truth is that the total amount of heat that is going into the ocean, instead of the atmosphere or other places, was thought to be large, is still known to be large, and in fact is larger than we were originally thinking (from these papers and several others that have come out recently). And, the contribution of the abyss ocean to both sea level rise and energy imbalance is statistically nil. It might be negative, it might be positive, but it is tiny either way. The deep ocean, on the other hand, is in strong positive energy balance.

    ________________

    1The terminology used in this discussion and some of the research papers (or reporting thereof) is a bit confused. Climate scientists have repeatedly said that heat is going into the “deep ocean” and this paper seems to say it is not. But it is. It is a matter of terminology. This is a source of confusion sometimes exploited by climate science denialists. A good way to define these terms is as follows:

    Shallow ocean = 0-700 meters
    Deep ocean = 700-2,000 meters
    Abyss = > 2,000 meters

    1. Hansen, J., Mki. Sato, P. Kharecha, and K. von Schuckmann, 2011: Earth’s energy imbalance and implications. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 13421–13449, doi:10.5194/acp–11–13421–2011.
    2. Llovel, W. J. K. Willis, F. W. Landerer, I. Fukumori. 2014. Deep-ocean contribution to sea level and energy budget not detectable over the past decade. Nature Climate Change, 5 October.

     

    15 years from now, our impact on regional sea level will be clear

    John Church 2 October 2014, 8.08pm BST

    A king tide in New Zealand, part of a project documenting what future sea level rise might look like. Witness King Tides/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

    Human activity is driving sea levels higher. Australia’s seas are likely to rise by around 70 centimetres by 2100 if nothing is done to combat climate change. But 2100 can seem a long way off.

    At the moment, regional sea-level rise driven by warming oceans and melting ice is hidden by natural variability such as the El Niño, which causes year-to-year changes in sea level of several centimetres.

    So at any particular place, the sea level might go up in one year, and down in the next. On Australia’s northwest coast, for example, the sea level was three centimetres below normal during 1998, but four centimetres above normal the following year. At the same time, human-caused climate change is driving sea level relentlessly upwards in most regions, eventually pushing it far outside the bounds of historical variation. But when will the difference become clear? Our new analysis of sea-level projections published in Nature Climate Change today indicates that regional sea-level rise will be generally noticeable before 2030. By then the average sea-level rise globally will be about 13 centimetres higher than the average sea level calculated between 1986 and 2005…

     

    Pentagon Says Global Warming Presents Immediate Security Threat

    By CORAL DAVENPORT NY Times OCT. 13, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon released a report Monday asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster response as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises. The report lays out a road map for how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic defense planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking Monday at a summit meeting of defense ministers in Peru, highlighted the report’s findings and the global security threats of climate change. “The loss of glaciers will strain water supplies in several areas of our hemisphere,” Mr. Hagel said. “Destruction and devastation from hurricanes can sow the seeds for instability. Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline, and trigger waves of mass migration.”

     

     

    Underwater kelp forests, a hub of marine diversity, have all but disappeared off Japan’s southern coast

    Species migration shaping ecosystems of the future

    October 14 2014 Deutsche Weil

    As the global climate heats up, species are moving beyond their normal ranges, posing a threat to native ecosystems and raising tough questions as to what the natural world of the future will look like.

    As recently as the 1980s, Tosa Bay on Japan’s southern coast was home to thick forests of kelp that provided food and shelter for an abundance of fish, invertebrates and marine mammal species. But, during a recent dive there, marine biologist Adriana Vergés found a very different underwater landscape. “The kelp forests used to support fisheries of abalone and lobster,” Vergés says. “In the last two to three decades that’s completely disappeared and if you go there now, it’s all coral… It doesn’t look like a temperate system any more.” The reef-building corals have colonized areas stripped of their kelp cover by invasive tropical fish species. This phenomenon of tropical fish infiltrating once temperate aquatic ecosystems, wiping out kelp forests and radically changing life on the seafloor bed is known as “tropicalization.” Vergés, a lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Australia, is one of the authors of a recent paper on the phenomenon off the southern coasts of Japan and Australia, the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico. These are “hotspots” where ocean currents flowing between warm and temperate waters are getting stronger. As well as warming these temperate habitats, the currents carry the larvae of tropical fish, such as rabbitfish, part of a global trend that is seeing species driven into new habitats by climate change. “In areas [of the Mediterranean] where there are tropical rabbitfish, the overall levels of biomass and diversity have gone down,” Vergés says. “There’s a shift from algal forests to barrens. It’s really quite eerie to dive into some eastern parts of the Mediterranean because there is very little left there.”
    Heading poleward
    As the global climate heats up, it isn’t just marine species that are on the move. In 2011, a UK study found a mean global movement of terrestrial species towards the poles of close to 17 kilometers per decade – or around 4.5 meters every day. This rapid range shift means that new combinations of species are interacting with native populations sometimes forced into a losing battle for resources with their new neighbors, which may be better adapted to the warmer conditions….

     

     

     

    Credit: University of Arizona

    Why Do Tropical Ecosystems Have Higher Biodiversity?

    By News Staff | October 14th 2014 08:00 AM

    Why is biodiversity is higher in the tropics than in colder regions? It’s one of ecology’s unsolved puzzles and has been since the European explorers and naturalists of the 17th and 18th centuries discovered there is a stunningly rich biodiversity in the tropics compared to the temperate regions of the world. A research effort led by University of Arizona ecologists has now unearthed unexpected answers and helped found a new discipline, they call it functional biogeography, in the process.
    While the sheer number of species that live in rainforests and other tropical habitats is larger than farther north or south, it turns out that when taking into account their functions; in other words, what species do for a living, the temperate regions actually show a greater diversity of functions.

    Functional biogeography is a new effort to focus on understanding the geographic distribution of the forms and functions — the traits — of organisms, with the goal of helping scientists and managers better predict the origin of biological diversity and how ecological communities respond to climate change. “It has long ago been proposed that the higher species diversity in the tropics could be explained by a larger number of habitats available for the organisms living there,” said Christine Lamanna and Cyrille Violle, both recent Ph.D. and postdoctoral researchers in the laboratory of Brian Enquist and the leading authors of the special issue. “While appealing, this hypothesis has not yet been tested in plants partly due to a lack of available data. Surprisingly, we found the greatest diversity of functions in the temperate regions.” Building on a unique database compiled by an international group of researchers, the Botanical Information and Ecology Network, or BIEN, analyzed data containing more than 20 million data entries of species occurrence and information about ecological functions for each species. The authors compared the diversity of functions carried out by species — as a proxy of the diversity of available habitats — in the tropics and in the temperate zones. “Biogeography is the study of geographic distribution and history of species across the globe,” explained Enquist, whose research team led the effort. “Functional biogeography does the same, but the focus is on the origin and implications of the global distribution of how organisms function. “If we want to understand how ecosystems function, we have to go beyond cataloguing species and where they occur,” said Enquist, who is one of the principal investigators of BIEN and a professor in the UA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “As we want to be more predictive, especially with changes in climate, land use and human needs such as agriculture and sustainable forestry, we need to know how those systems work.”….

     

     

    Microfossils reveal warm oceans had less oxygen

    Posted: 15 Oct 2014 01:56 PM PDT

    Researchers are pairing chemical analyses with micropaleontology — the study of tiny fossilized organisms — to better understand how global marine life was affected by a rapid warming event more than 55 million years ago. Their findings are the subject of an article in the journal Paleoceanography.

     

     

    Long-Term Increase in Aboveground Carbon Stocks Following Exclusion of Grazers and Forest Establishment in an Alpine Ecosystem

    James D. M. Speed , Vegard Martinsen , Atle Mysterud , Jan Mulder , Øystein Holand & Gunnar Austrheim

     

    Abstract    Full text HTML    Full text PDF

     

     

    Caribbean islands (stock image). “The tropics will be the overall losers,” says William Cheung, associate professor at the UBC Fisheries Centre and co-author of this study. “This area has a high dependence on fish for food, diet and nutrition. We’ll see a loss of fish populations that are important to the fisheries and communities in these regions.”

    Fish moving poleward at rate of 26 kilometres per decade

    Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:38 AM PDT

    Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of Britsh Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots for local fish extinction but also found that changing temperatures will drive more fish into the Arctic and Antarctic waters. Using the same climate change scenarios as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, researchers projected a large-scale shift of marine fish and invertebrates. In the worst-case scenario, where the Earth’s oceans warm by three degrees Celsius by 2100, fish could move away from their current habitats at a rate of 26 kilometres per decade. Under the best-case scenario, where the Earth warms by one degree Celsius, fish would move 15 kilometres every decade. This is consistent with changes in the last few decades….

     

    M. C. Jones, W. W. L. Cheung. Multi-model ensemble projections of climate change effects on global marine biodiversity. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsu172

     

     

    Middle Eastern vegetation resistant to climate change: Ecosystems withstand more than seven lean years

    Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

    Ecosystems in the Middle East are home to a wealth of unique species — including the ancestors of many of our staple crops. Yet the climate scenario in this dry region is alarming. Already, the region has a relatively small amount of water available for every person living there — and it is predicted that in the future, there will be even less rain. New research shows that Middle Eastern ecosystems might be more resilient than previously thought...

     

     

    PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR LONG-LEAD SEASONAL OUTLOOKS

    
    					
    NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD 830AM EDT THURSDAY OCT 16 2014
    SUMMARY OF THE OUTLOOK FOR NON-TECHNICAL USERS
    THE MAIN FACTORS THAT USUALLY INFLUENCE THE SEASONAL CLIMATE OUTLOOK INCLUDE:

    1) EL NINO AND LA NINA - WHICH TOGETHER COMPRISE EL NINO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION OR ENSO. IMPACTS OF THESE EVENTS ARE SUMMARIZED BY SEPARATING 3-MONTH OBSERVATIONS FROM 3 OR MORE DECADES INTO EL NINO, NEUTRAL, AND LA NINA SETS, AVERAGING EACH SEPARATELY, AND THEN COMPUTING ANOMALIES. THESE ARE CALLED "ENSO 
    COMPOSITES", WHICH ARE USED AT TIMES TO SUBJECTIVELY MODIFY THE FORECAST.
    2) TRENDS - APPROXIMATED BY THE OCN TOOL AS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MOST RECENT 10-YEAR MEAN OF TEMPERATURE OR 15-YEAR MEAN OF PRECIPITATION FOR A GIVEN LOCATION AND TIME OF YEAR AND THE 30-YEAR CLIMATOLOGICAL PERIOD (1981-2010).
    3) THE MADDEN-JULIAN OSCILLATION (MJO) - AFFECTS CLIMATE VARIABILITY WITHIN SEASONS.
    4) THE NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION (NAO) AND THE PACIFIC - NORTH AMERICAN (PNA) PATTERNS - WHICH AFFECT ANOMALY PATTERNS ESPECIALLY DURING THE COLD SEASONS. THESE PHENOMENA ARE CONSIDERABLY LESS PREDICTABLE ON A SEASONAL TIMESCALE THAN ENSO.
    5) THE PACIFIC DECADAL OSCILLATION (PDO) - AN ENSO-LIKE PATTERN OF CLIMATE VARIABILITY AFFECTING THE TROPICS AND THE NORTH PACIFIC AND NORTH AMERICAN REGIONS, BUT WHICH VARIES ON A MUCH LONGER TIMESCALE THAN ENSO.
    6) PERSISTENTLY DRY OR WET SOILS IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER AND SNOW AND ICE COVER ANOMALIES IN THE WINTER. THESE FACTORS TEND TO PERSIST FOR LONG PERIODS AND ACT AS A KIND OF MEMORY IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM.
    7) STATISTICAL FORECAST TOOLS - CANONICAL CORRELATION ANALYSIS (CCA), SCREENING MULTIPLE LINEAR REGRESSION (SMLR), CONSTRUCTED ANALOGUE (CA) AND ENSEMBLE CCA (ECCA).
    8) DYNAMICAL FORECAST MODELS - INCLUDING THE NCEP CLIMATE FORECAST SYSTEM (CFS). AN EXPERIMENTAL MODEL FORECAST SYSTEM, THE NORTH AMERICAN MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE, COMPRISED OF SEVERAL MODELS AND DESIGNATED NMME, MAY ALSO BE USED EXPERIMENTALLY AND SUBJECTIVELY UNTIL IT IS INCLUDED INTO THE CONSOLIDATION. AN INTERNATIONAL MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE DESIGNATED IMME IS ALSO AVAILABLE.
    9) CONSOLIDATION (CON) - AN OBJECTIVE, SKILL-WEIGHTED COMBINATION OF THE OCN, CCA, SMLR, ECCA, AND CFS FORECASTS IS USED AS A FIRST GUESS IN PREPARING THE FORECAST MAPS. THIS TECHNIQUE MAKES OPTIMUM USE OF THE KNOWN SKILL OF FORECAST TOOLS.

     

    CURRENT ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC OBSERVATIONS ARE CONSISTENT WITH ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS WITH A STILL FAVORED TRANSITION TO EL NINO CONDITIONS IN LATE AUTUMN  AND WINTER. A WEAK EL NINO EVENT IS MOST PROBABLE, HOWEVER THERE REMAINS A 
    CHANCE OF EITHER A LOW-END MODERATE EVENT OR CONTINUED ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS DURING THE UPCOMING OUTLOOK PERIOD. THE TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK FOR NOVEMBER-DECEMBER-JANUARY (NDJ) 2014-15 INDICATES ELEVATED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL MEAN TEMPERATURES FOR ALASKA, THE FAR WEST, ALONG THE NORTHERN TIER OF THE CONTINENTAL U.S. EASTWARD TO INCLUDE PARTS OF THE NORTHEAST AND MID-ATLANTIC. BELOW-NORMAL MEAN TEMPERATURES ARE MOST LIKELY OVER AREAS FROM EASTERN NEW MEXICO TO THE WESTERN GULF COAST STATES…

     

     

    The $9.7 Trillion Problem: Cyclones and Climate Change

    By Brian Kahn
    Published: October 10th, 2014  Climate Central

    You can do a lot with $9.7 trillion: buy all the real estate in Manhattan 12 times over, purchase 22 carbon copies of Apple, or an absurd quantity of apples. It’s also the amount of money that tropical cyclones could cost the global economy over the next century, especially if climate projections of fewer but more intense cyclones are accurate. In comparison to those losses, the cost of action to reduce emissions and beef up coastal preparedness is relatively cheap say researchers. Humanity and cyclones are no strangers to each other. Roughly 35 percent of the world’s 7 billion people are in the path of cyclones and coastal populations are expected to swell in the coming century. To understand the future damage that cyclones could inflict on ever-growing coastal cities, two researchers looked at 60 years of cyclone and economic data in a recent National Bureau of Economic Research study. They found that cyclones — known as hurricanes or typhoons depending on the ocean basin in which they form — left lasting impacts on the economies of the countries they hit. In the case of major events, such as 1-in-100 year storm like Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the impacts were worse and longer-lasting than a full-blown financial crisis. If that sounds shocking to you, you’re not the only one who felt that way….

     

    Shrinking resource margins in Sahel region of Africa

    Posted: 16 Oct 2014 08:19 AM PDT

    The need for food, animal feed and fuel in the Sahel belt is growing year on year, but supply is not increasing at the same rate. New figures from 22 countries indicate falling availability of resources per capita and a continued risk of famine in areas with low ‘primary production’ from plants. Rising temperatures present an alarming prospect, according to a study.

     

     

     

    DROUGHT:

     


    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

     

     

    Not just California: Droughts extend across Americas.

    NBC News October 11, 2014

    The Golden State is hardly alone in drought when looking across the Western Hemisphere: A dry spell has killed cattle and wiped out crops in Central America, parts of Colombia have seen rioting over scarce water, and southern Brazil is facing its worst dry spell in 50 years.

     

     

    1934 drought was worst of the last millennium, study finds
    By: American Geophysical Union (AGU)


    The 1934 drought afflicted nearly 72 percent of the western United States, as shown in this figure pf the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), which the authors used to identify 1934 as the worst drought year of the last millennium. Credit: Benjamin Cook

    WASHINGTON, DC October 14, 2014 – The 1934 drought was by far the most intense and far-reaching drought of the last 1,000 years in North America, and was caused in part by an atmospheric phenomenon that may have also led to the current drought in California, according to a new study.
    New research finds that the extent of the 1934 drought was approximately seven times larger than droughts of comparable intensity that struck North America between 1000 A.D. and 2005, and nearly 30 percent worse than the next most severe drought that struck the continent in 1580. “We noticed that 1934 really stuck out as not only the worst drought but far outside the normal range of what we see in the record,” said Benjamin Cook, an environmental scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and lead author of a new paper that has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The new study also finds that the same atmospheric pattern of a high pressure ridge over the West Coast deflecting away storms laden with rain last winter was also present over the area during the winter of 1933-34. This ridging pattern has preceded some of the worst West Coast droughts, including the 1976 California drought—the beginning of a two-year dry spell which is widely regarded as one of the most severe droughts in the state’s history. The three-year drought currently crippling California will cost the state $2.2 billion in 2014 alone, and will likely continue through 2015, according to a recent report from the University of California, Davis. Yet the current drought is nothing, so far, compared to what occurred in 1934, the start of a decade-spanning drought that would come to be known as the Dust Bowl and was one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the United States. The drought, which afflicted nearly 72 percent of the western United States, was likely made even worse by atmospheric effects from human-created dust storms, according to the new research. The new study suggests that such interactions between the land and the atmosphere may have an important role to play in drought severity, said Cook, who holds a joint appointment at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “These dust storms may have dried things out further and kicked 1934 into a really extreme event,” he said….

     

     

    Less Than 60 Days Remaining Before Dozens of California Communities Run Out of Water

    By J. D. Heyes, contributing wirter to Natural News

    The water irrigation pipes in the dry Southern California farmland. (Shutterstock*)

    Chronic drought conditions throughout the West continue to wreak havoc on the general public, as well as farming operations, but in California, things are about to get much worse. Some regions of the state are now within two months of completely running out of water, according to CBS San Francisco, which reported that communities in central and northern California could see their water supplies completely vanquished in less than 60 days. “The areas in jeopardy include Colusa and El Dorado County. These are relatively small communities and they rely on one source of water,” the news site reported, adding, “Butte County north of Sacramento is getting hit hard.”…

     

    Winter rains not likely to ease California drought

    By Kurtis Alexander SF CHRON Updated 3:03 pm, Thursday, October 16, 2014

    An abandoned pontoon boat sits on dry land which would typically be filled with water along the shore at Bass Lake on Friday July 18, 2014, near Oakhurst, Calif.

    Drought conditions will likely ease in much of the West this winter, but not in most of California, according to a new climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report, released Thursday, indicates that conditions in the Pacific Ocean, which include a developing El Niño weather pattern, may prompt above-average rainfall for the southern third of California over the next three months. The Bay Area, however, as well as most of the rest of the state, stands only a one-third chance of seeing above-average rain — and equal chances for below-average rain and a normal amount. “There’s just not a strong enough climate signal to make a prediction,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The forecast bodes poorly for Northern California, where residents are hoping a wet winter erases some of the costs of the state’s driest three-year period on record, including tight drinking-water supplies, fallowed agricultural fields and damaging wildfires….

     

    EPA Announces $43 Million For Southwestern Tribes Suffering Drought

    by Ari Phillips Posted on October 16, 2014

    Forty-four tribes in California are in danger of running out of water.

     

     

     

     

     

    EPA Launches Broad Collaborative of External Stakeholders to Advance Green Infrastructure

    EPA’s Green Infrastructure Program and the White House Council on Environmental Quality have launched a broad collaborative of external stakeholders to advance the implementation of green infrastructure. The Green Infrastructure Collaborative will leverage efforts from the federal family, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and academia to advance green infrastructure as a means of supporting water quality and community development goals. As part of the announcement, EPA released a Statement of Support outlining specific commitments from Collaborative members to advance cooperation and coordination on green infrastructure initiatives.  The Collaborative will build capacity for green infrastructure by providing a platform for national stakeholders to:

    • Leverage joint efforts to promote the multiple community benefits of green infrastructure;
    • Share and build knowledge around emerging green infrastructure technologies and policy issues; and
    • Facilitate shared inquiry into the best ways to encourage adoption of green infrastructure technologies at the local level.
    • The Collaborative will build on the Green Infrastructure Partnership launched in 2007 by EPA and its founding partner organizations.
    • For more information, see the Collaborative’s website or the White House fact sheet.  

       

     

    To join greenstream, an EPA listserv featuring updates on green infrastructure publications, training, and funding opportunities, send an email to join-greenstream@lists.epa.gov. To learn more about the relationship between green infrastructure and low impact development please visit EPA’s Low Impact Development Page.

     

    EPA Releases “Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans”

    EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries program has published Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans as a resource for environmental managers and planners. This publication provides much needed guidance for conducting risk-based climate change vulnerability assessments and developing adaptation action plans. The workbook helps users to identify, analyze and prioritize climate change risks. In developing an action plan, it guides users to address their most pressing risks and find appropriate responses. Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present. By using the workbook and addressing climate change in their systems, users will be ready to protect environmental resources, public safety, and infrastructure. Learn more about the Being Prepared for Climate Change workbook tools to help increase resiliency and tackle climate change in your own place. Watch a video about the new workbook.

     
     

    Is this the world’s best bike-share bike?

    October 13, 2014 Fast Company

    Copenhagen was the first large city to start a bike-share program. Now that there are well over 500 cities with bike sharing, the Danish capital—which brands itself as the “world’s cycling capital”—has reinvented bike sharing again. Its new fleet of electric, Wi-Fi-connected bikes are designed to get more non-cyclists to ride….

     

    Wild weather forces climate adaptation on Europe’s political agenda

    European Environment Agency finds adapting to climate change now on political agenda but action on ground still rare

    Arthur Neslen
    theguardian.com, Tuesday 14 October 2014 04.23 EDT

    Trucks stranded near the eastern Bavarian city of Deggendorf after one of Europe’s most frequented highways was flooded by the nearby river Danube in 2013 Photograph: WOLFGANG RATTAY/REUTERS

    Three quarters of European countries have placed adapting to disruption from climate change on the political agenda, but the same percentage cite factors such as time, money or technologies as a barrier to taking action, in the most comprehensive survey of the issue to date. The European Environment Agency survey shows “uncertainties about the extent of future climate change” and “unclear responsibilities” are seen as blocks to action by a large number of countries. But as freak weather events increase in severity and frequency, climate change adaptation is increasingly focusing minds in government. Climate change was partly responsible last year for heatwaves in Australia, Korea and Japan, floods in Northern India and a drought in New Zealand, according to a report by the UK’s Met Office and the US’s Noaa….

     

     

     

     

     

    Pentagon to unveil plan for dealing with climate change

    By W.J. Hennigan, LA Times October 13, 2014

    Climate change will be a topic at the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas The Pentagon has said that it already experiences weather problems on many bases and other facilities The military’s preparation for changing climates demonstrates a rift with many Republicans in Congress At a meeting that brings together many of the world’s foremost military leaders, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to reveal how the ongoing effects of global climate change pose an urgent risk to national security and require extensive rethinking of many aspects of the U.S. military. In coordination with his comments Monday here at the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, the Pentagon is set to unveil a plan articulating how it will address the effects of climate change that threaten global security and its own operational readiness. The Pentagon anticipates new strategies at home and abroad, particularly in regions that are more susceptible to changing temperatures and extreme weather events. It has already begun assessing the effects on military bases in coastal regions. Officials have also started to prepare for expanded roles overseas. There will be new missions undertaken, such as monitoring the Arctic Sea, where formerly frozen trade lanes have thawed and present shipping companies with fresh routes. An increased humanitarian role is also expected as severe weather could spur turmoil in countries with unstable governments and shoddy infrastructure. “When there is any natural disaster event that occurs, there always is some element of a security risk — law and order, individuals attempting to take advantage of those catastrophes, adjusting to shifts in security requirements,” Hagel said Saturday, providing a preview at a news conference in Santiago, Chile, after a meeting with government leaders there. The Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas is the culmination of Hagel’s six-day trip through South America, talking with top leaders in Colombia, Chile and Peru. The conference, which brings together 34 nations, begins Monday…..

     

     

    Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in the Presidents Climate Action Plan

    As called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan, the administration recently released a Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda. The LCCs are mentioned numerous times as vehicles to help implement this agenda. Key themes include:

    • Foster climate resilient land and waters
    • Manage and enhance U.S. carbon sinks
    • Enhance community preparedness and resilience by utilizing and sustaining natural resources
    • Modernize Federal programs, investments, and delivery of services to build resilience and enhance sequestration of biological carbon

     
     

     

     

    Adapt to climate and cut emissions, say Brazil, South Africa, India and China

    By Urmi Goswami, ET Bureau | 13 Oct, 2014, 05.34AM IST

    NEW DELHI: The collective of the four advanced developing countries, BASIC, Brazil, South Africa, India and China, has stressed that the global effort to tackle climate change must focus on adapting to climate as well as reducing emissions. “Adaptation needs are driven by the extent of adverse effects of climate change, experienced both now and in the future,” the BASIC said in the statement on Friday at the end of their two-consultation in Sun City, South Africa.Ahead of the negotiations to be .. …

     

     

     

     

    LED lights are a ‘transformative technology’ in the developing world.

    NPR October 13, 2014

    Less familiar is the illumination revolution LED bulbs have helped set off in the developing world. For a growing proportion of the more than one billion people who live without reliable sources of electricity, LED lights, in tandem with solar panels, have been a godsend…

     

    Are eco-friendly bulbs BAD for the environment? LEDs attract 50% more insects and could damage ecosystems

    • LED bulbs use around 90 per cent less energy than incandescent lights
    • But insects are more strongly attracted to the LED spectrum of light 
    • Scientists caught and labelled around 20,000 insects attracted to LEDs
    • The attraction can be fatal, causing more flies to be eaten by predators
    • Scientists say this can disrupt food chains and damage local ecosystems
    • Another concern is that LED lights near ports could attract flying pests, such as the gypsy moth, that are accidentally transported by ships 

    By Ellie Zolfagharifard for MailOnline Daily Mail Published: 06:53 EST, 17 October 2014 | Updated: 09:37 EST, 17 October 2014

    Blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been receiving positive attention after its inventors were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics last week. They use around 90 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last for 100,000 hours compared with 1,000 hours for tungsten filament light bulbs. But while they may be good for the environment, a new study claims that the discovery may a problem for insects, which are more strongly attracted to the LED spectrum of light….

     

     

    How The New Tesla ‘D’ Will Upend Your Expectations For Electric Cars

    by Joaquim Moreira Salles Posted on October 11, 2014 at 11:28 am Updated: October 12, 2014 at 4:53 am

    CREDIT: AP Photo (Rinfo H. W. Chiu)

    Tesla unveiled an all-wheel drive version of its Model-S on Thursday. The new car is an improvement over the two-wheel-drive version in almost every way, with increased efficiency, range, acceleration, top speed, and a slew of futuristic auto-pilot features.

    Until now, all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles were less efficient and slower than rear-wheel drives due to the added mass of a second motor. This is not the case for the new Model S’s dual motor system, which makes for a more efficient and powerful car than its two-wheel-drive predecessor. While many Tesla owners currently reside in warm weather states, the ability to power all four wheels is likely to expand Tesla’s customer base to the snowy East and Midwest….

     

     

     

     
     

    WEBINAR

     

    National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center’s webinar series!

    Climate Change and Federal Land Management: Assessing Priorities Using a Social Network Approach Tuesday, October 28 at 2:00 PM EST / 11 AM PST

    Mark Schwartz from the University of California, Davis

    Registration Required! https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/webinar/356

    Many federal agencies are currently striving to plan for climate change adaptation. Researchers for this project explored 1) the degree to which federal resource managers believe that climate change adaptation is important in their work and 2) the degree to which these managers are connected to each other and to a broader research community that can provide a scientific basis for climate change adaptation actions.  The project consisted of a social network analysis of federal resource managers in the regions encompassed by the Southwest and North Central CSCs. Methods for this project included an online survey targeting resource managers from the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as a snowball survey to garner opinions from people within academic, nongovernmental and federal research organizations (e.g., USGS), as well as from state resource managers.  This study resulted in a number of different findings, including an overall strong concern for climate change impacts on natural resources among resource managers and a varying degree of connectedness between resource management agencies and research units.  Join the webinar to learn more about this project and the findings from this social network analysis! 

    View or download the full Announcement >>
    REGISTRATION: via the webinar page: https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/webinar/356 OR directly at: https://doilearn.webex.com/doilearn/k2/j.php?MTID=t1be62e25df5cc848a8a67abfd6e8e098 
    After clicking this link, click “Register”. Once submitted you will receive an email with instructions on how to join the webinar via the WebEx platform. 

    CLOSED CAPTIONS: Check the webinar page at the time of the recording for a link to closed captioning: https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/webinar/356  

    WEBINAR WILL BE RECORDED: If you cannot attend the webinar, it will be posted, with closed captioning, approximately 1-2 weeks after the presentation at: https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/webinar/356  

    UPCOMING WEBINARS: View the schedule of upcoming webinars in this series at: https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/webinars

     

    UPCOMING CONFERENCES: 

    8th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference – Register Now
    October 28-30, 2014 Sacramento Convention Center

    If you haven’t already done so, please register now for the Bay-Delta Science Conference.  The deadline for the pre-registration is October 22nd.

    The Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference is a forum for presenting technical analyses and results relevant to the Delta Science Program’s mission to provide the best possible, unbiased, science-based information for water and environmental decision-making in the Bay-Delta system. The goal of the conference is to provide new information and syntheses to the broad community of scientists, engineers, resource managers, and stakeholders working on Bay-Delta issues.

     

    Visualizing and Analyzing Environmental Data with R
    November 18-19, 2014 Sacramento, CA

    This course is designed for participants who wish to gain beginning to intermediate skills in using R for manipulating, visualizing and analyzing their environmental data.
    It is applicable to anyone that conducts environmental monitoring or uses environmental data for research, management, or policy-making and is recommended for anyone needing to become proficient with R basics. Read More

     

     

    7th California Oak Symposium: November 3-6, 2014; Visalia Convention Center

    Managing Oak Woodlands in a Dynamic World

    Register Today!

     

    Planning and Facilitating Collaborative Meetings
    Nov 6-7, 9:00am – 5:00pm both days 

    Bay Conference Center at the Romberg Tiburon Center, 3152 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920

    Join us for this exciting workshop, developed by NOAA Coastal Services Center. This workshop was formerly titled “Navigating Rough Seas: Public Issues and Conflict Management.”  Learn to design meetings that enhance problem solving and minimize conflict.  Collaboration can be complicated, requiring  a systematic approach. This course provides the skills and tools to design and implement collaborative approaches. The skills will be useful even when attending, but not running, meetings. The cost of the workshop is $100, which includes workshop materials, lunch both days and morning refreshments. Contact Heidi Nutters (heidin@sfsu.edu) about scholarships. To register, click here

     

    2015 California Climate & Agriculture Summit  March 24 and 25, 2015
    UC Davis Conference CenterCall for Workshop and Poster Presentations   

     

    INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE Abstract submission deadline is 1 November 2014 

    COME TO OUR HISTORIC SUMMIT 25-27 MARCH 2015

    ABSTRACT SUBMISSION (through November 1, 2014) and REGISTRATION (through January 25, 2015) NOW OPEN for Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century - A 2.5-day Summit at U.C. Berkeley March 25-27, 2015 convening natural and social scientists, managers and practitioners — 100 years after historic meetings at U.C. Berkeley helped launch the National Park Service — to rededicate a second century of science and stewardship for national parks.  This summit will feature visionary plenary lectures, strategic panel discussions on current controversies, and technical sessions of contributed paper and posters.   Keynote Speaker: E. O. Wilson.  Distinguished Plenary Speakers and Panelists include David Ackerly, Jill Baron, Steven Beissinger, Joel Berger, Edward Bernbaum, Ruth DeFries, Thomas Dietz, Josh Donlan, Holly Doremus, Ernesto Enkerlin, John Francis, David Graber, Denis Galvin, Jane Lubchenco, Gary Machlis, George Miller, Hugh Possingham, Jedediah Purdy, Nina Roberts, Mark Schwartz, Daniel Simberloff, Monica Turner, & Jennifer Wolch.

     

     

    Ninth International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) World Congress meeting, July 9th 2015

    Coming to Portland, Oregon July 5-10, 2015! The symposium, which is held every four years, brings scientists and practitioners from around the globe together to discuss and share landscape ecology work and information. The theme of the 2015 meeting is Crossing Scales, Crossing Borders: Global Approaches to Complex Challenges.

     


     

     

    National Adaptation Forum– Call for Proposals
    May 12 – 14, 2015 in St. Louis, MO

    The National Adaptation Forum is a biennial gathering of the adaptation community to foster information exchange, innovation, and mutual support for a better tomorrow. The Forum will take place from May 12 – 14, 2015 in St. Louis, MO. 
    Proposals are being accepted for Symposia, Training Sessions, Working Groups, Poster Presentations, and a Tools Cafe. 

    Click here for more information.

     

     

     

     

     

    JOBS  (apologies for any duplication; thanks for passing along)

     

     

    Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology

    The Division of Science & Environmental Policy (SEP) at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the assistant professor level to begin in fall 2015. We seek applicants with a demonstrated commitment to teaching and research, interdisciplinary research on wildlife interactions across wild, urban, and agricultural interfaces, and a record of successful research grant proposal writing. The successful candidate will work with other faculty to develop undergraduate curricula and professional outreach programs that leverage our unique location on California’s Central Coast and in the Salinas Valley region.

     

     

    The Nature Conservancy – California

    Applicants must apply on-line at www.nature.org/careers (external applicants) or PeopleSoft/Self-Service/Careers (internal applicants). To more easily locate the position, enter the job ID (see below) in the keyword search.

    • The Associate Director of Integrated Water Management (Associate Director: Job ID # # 42477) will have primary responsibility for leading a multi-disciplinary team to set and drive The Conservancy’s strategy for ensuring that California operates its surface and groundwater storage and conveyance systems collectively and proactively to meet the needs of nature as well as the needs of people.  The Associate Director will guide an experienced and talented team and will take into account the complex nature of California’s water infrastructure, legal system, water use, freshwater diversity and a challenging socio-political context, to define priorities, set objectives and mobilize the human, financial and intellectual resources of The Conservancy to achieve progress towards a sustainable California water future.

     

    • The Associate Director of Water and Habitat for Nature (Associate Director Job ID# 42478) will have primary responsibility for leading a multi-disciplinary team to set and drive The Conservancy’s strategy meeting the water and habitat needs of freshwater biodiversity in California.  The Associate Director will guide an experienced and talented team and will take into account the complex nature of California’s water infrastructure, legal system, water use, freshwater diversity and a challenging socio-political context, to define priorities, set objectives and mobilize the human, financial and intellectual resources of The Conservancy to deliver water and restore habitat to specific suites of species where and when they need it.  Particular sets of species include salmon and migratory waterfowl.

     

     

     

     

     

    • OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

     


    How to Live Forever? Be a Jellyfish—great video

     

    Hermaphrodite snail named after marriage equality

    BBC News October 13, 2014

    Biologists christened the species Aegista diversifamilia, referring to a diversity of family types, because it “represents the diversity of sex orientation in the animal kingdom”. The snail is widespread throughout eastern Taiwan, but was previously mistaken for a closely related species.

    Its discovery is reported in the journal ZooKeys. “When we were preparing the manuscript, it was a period when Taiwan and many other countries and states were struggling for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights,” said Dr Yen-Chang Lee, who first suggested the snail might entail its own species….

     

    Fast, simple diagnostic test specific to 2014 Ebola outbreak

    Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

    Researchers have developed a fast and simple diagnostic test solution specific to the 2014 Ebola outbreak. With the current epidemic of Ebola virus in West Africa, scientists are racing to provide an easy-to-use, affordable solution for screening suspect Ebola patients.

     

     

    Sugared soda consumption, cell aging associated in new study

    Posted: 16 Oct 2014 01:59 PM PDT

    Sugar-sweetened soda consumption might promote disease independently from its role in obesity, according to UC San Francisco researchers who found in a new study that drinking sugary drinks was associated with cell aging.

     

    Resveratrol boosts spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome

    Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:08 AM PDT

    Resveratrol, a natural compound found in red wine and grapes, increased spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome and could hold promise as a treatment for osteoporosis, according to a new study.

     

    Research shows that music training boosts IQ, focus and persistence

    By Joanne Lipman WSJ Oct. 10, 2014 11:24 a.m. ET

    American education is in perpetual crisis. Our students are falling ever farther behind their peers in the rest of the world. Learning disabilities have reached epidemic proportions, affecting as many as one in five of our children. Illiteracy costs American businesses $80 billion a year.
    Many solutions have been tried, but few have succeeded. So I propose a different approach: music training. A growing body of evidence suggests that music could trump many of the much more expensive “fixes” that we have thrown at the education system.
    Plenty of outstanding achievers have attributed at least some of their success to music study. Stanford University’s Thomas Sudhof, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine last year, gave credit to his bassoon teacher. Albert Einstein, who began playing the violin at age 6, said his discovery of the theory of relativity was “the result of musical perception.”
    Until recently, though, it has been a chicken-and-egg question: Are smart, ambitious people naturally attracted to music? Or does music make them smart and ambitious? And do musically trained students fare better academically because they tend to come from more affluent, better educated families?
    New research provides some intriguing answers. Music is no cure-all, nor is it likely to turn your child into a Nobel Prize winner. But there is compelling evidence that it can boost children’s academic performance and help fix some of our schools’ most intractable problems. Music raises your IQ.

     

     

     

     



    12 Items That Were Made With Way More Water Than You Think

    Conserving H20? You might want to reconsider what you have for breakfast.

    October 08, 2014 Kristina Bravo

    t-shirt

    pair of jeans

    egg


    laptop

     

    hamburger

    gallon of gas

     

     




     


     

    ————

    Ellie Cohen, President and CEO

    Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO)

    3820 Cypress Drive, Suite 11, Petaluma, CA 94954

    707-781-2555 x318

     

    www.pointblue.org  | Follow Point Blue on Facebook!

     

    Point Blue—Conservation science for a healthy planet.

     

  7. Traditional Ecological Knowledge Training Follow-Up- CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative and CA Dept of Water Resources

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    Traditional Ecological Knowledge Training Follow-Up- CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative and CA Dept of Water Resources

    We have developed a webpage for the presentations, agenda, reference list, and additional TEK resources. A workshop survey has been added too, so if you didn’t get a chance to provide feedback at the end of the day you can do so now!  Developing the TEK resource list will be an ongoing work-in-progress and if you have other resources, please email the titles and links to DDiPietro@pointblue.org

    There will be a field-based TEK workshop in late fall (likely November) in Hopland that will be sponsored by the UC Ag and Natural Resources Dept (UCANR) and the California Department of Food and Ag. One of the instructors from the TEK workshop, Sage LaPena, will be working with Janice Alexander of UCANR to plan the event. This would be a great follow-up to the classroom lecture for those who want to see applied TEK in the field with native practitioners! Contact jalexander@ucdavis.edu for more information. With the workshop successfully completed, we are determining next steps and the future direction for the CA LCC Tribal and TEK Team. If you would like to participate in conference calls or even just be on the mailing list for informational purposes, please contact Michelle.Selmon@water.ca.gov to be added to the email list (if you didn’t already sign up at the workshop). We need your input about what niche this committee can fill!

  8. A Guide to Olympia Oyster Restoration and Conservation: Environmental Conditions and Sites That Support Sustainable Populations in Central California.

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    A Guide to Olympia Oyster Restoration and Conservation: Environmental Conditions and Sites That Support Sustainable Populations in Central California

    An interdisciplinary team from the National Estuarine Research Reserves at San Francisco Bay and Elkhorn Slough, UC Davis, and the California Coastal Conservancy began this project in late 2011, with funding from the NERR Science Collaborative.  This project characterized stressor levels (temp, salinity, dissolved oxygen, sedimentation, invasive species, others) at multiple sites in two California estuaries (San Francisco Bay, Elkhorn Slough), assessed native oyster populations at these sites and connectivity between them, and examined impacts of individual and combined stressors in laboratory experiments. The goal is to improve sustainability of Olympia oyster populations in the face of climate change by providing restoration and conservation planning tools. After 2+ years of field work at low tides and continuous lab studies that required long hours, we are excited to share our recent findings about the environmental conditions that are supportive vs. stressful to Olympia oysters, and which sites in central California are best for them.
     You can access the full document and four appendices at www.oysters-and-climate.org

  9. Plans for wildlife refuges show strengths and weaknesses for adapting to climate change

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    Plans for wildlife refuges show strengths and weaknesses for adapting to climate change

    Indiana University study finds U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System management plans are ahead of their peers for adapting, but more needs to be done

    Oct. 8, 2014
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — As the effects of a changing climate become acute, organizations charged with overseeing refuge areas must take action to adapt. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains the National Wildlife Refuge System — which constitutes the world’s largest system of protected lands and waters — and its experience offers lessons for other public land managers.

    …. The article was published online today by BioScience and will appear in the November 2014 issue of the journal. Fischman is a professor and Harry T. Ice Faculty Fellow in the Maurer School of Law. Meretsky is a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs…. The authors undertook a study of 185 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service comprehensive conservation plans published from 2005 to 2011 and evaluated their coverage of nine climate-change categories. Of the 185 plans, 115 mentioned at least one of the climate-change categories; of these, only 73 included prescriptions for adaptation. Moreover, the percentage of plans with climate-change prescriptions actually dropped in 2011, after steadily rising in each of the previous five years.

    When prescriptions were present, they tended to be focused on monitoring that did not include specific criteria for action, rather than on monitoring with action criteria or on adaptive responses themselves. This can be a result of managers’ desire to maintain flexibility in the face of uncertainty; but the authors argue that “without specific criteria for evaluating success, refuge managers will have difficulty knowing whether and how to adjust activities on the basis of monitoring.”

    Despite some shortcomings of existing comprehensive conservation plans, the authors see cause for hope in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2013 strategic plan, which calls for reviews that will bring together multiple refuge-level plans in order to produce wider-scale “landscape conservation designs.” These landscape conservation designs will allow reserve managers collectively to make a greater contribution to climate-change adaptation than they otherwise could. As the authors put it, “coordinating the actions of a disparate collection of reserves so that they achieve more together than each can independently is, after all, the whole point of having a conservation system.”

    The research is significant because, despite a plenitude of general advice for land managers facing climate change, few studies have examined what might be practical for conservation reserves. The plans for national wildlife refuges show that it is possible to incorporate many ideas into practice. But wider use of emerging decision-support tools and regional-level coordination could help managers better prepare for coming landscape-scale changes….

     

     

    Strengths and weaknesses for adaptation to climate change

    Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:14 AM PDT

    Despite a plenitude of general advice for land managers facing climate change, few studies have examined what might be practical for conservation reserves. The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s comprehensive conservation plans for national wildlife refuges show that it is possible to incorporate many ideas into practice. But wider use of emerging decision-support tools and regional-level coordination could help managers better prepare for coming landscape-scale changes.

  10. Sukkot, rain and Andy Lipkis’ vision for L.A.’s salvation

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    Sukkot, rain and Andy Lipkis’ vision for L.A.’s salvation

    by Jared Sichel October 7, 2014

    TreePeople built an underground water cistern that stores up to 216,000 gallons of rainwater. Photos courtesy of TreePeople

    On the afternoon of Oct. 16, the final day of Sukkot, Jews will begin the annual practice of inserting a short but key line into the Amidah prayer: Mashiv haruach u morid hageshem: “Who causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall.” In Jewish tradition, Sukkot marks the beginning of the rainy season in Israel, and, as it happens, for California as well. This year, in the Golden State, morid hageshem takes on heightened meaning, given that the nation’s most populous state is in its third consecutive year of drought, with about 80 percent of California experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions, the most severe on a five-tier scale according to the United States Drought Monitor.  And there is no end in sight, with the Climate Prediction Center forecasting that, at least through the end of the year, the state’s drought likely will persist and possibly even intensify. Only 5.84 inches of rain have fallen in Los Angeles since the beginning of 2014 — about half the average amount — or, put another way, 39.2 billion fewer gallons of rainwater than falls on the city’s 469 square miles in a year of average rainfall. But the problem is even bigger than those numbers indicate. In Los Angeles, an inordinate amount of the rain that falls on us makes no contribution to the city’s water supply — an estimated 80 percent of our rainfall flows directly into storm drains and heads out into the ocean, wasted before ever being used. One consequence is that for each gallon of water not captured, one gallon must be imported.
    Los Angeles imports about 90 percent of its water from the Owens Valley in Eastern California (270 miles away), the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (380 miles away) and the Colorado River Aqueduct near Parker Dam — a 242-mile channel along the California-Arizona border (280 miles away) that was built and is operated by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD).
    The MWD sells the water wholesale, supplying 1.7 billion gallons of water daily for use by 19 million people across Southern California. 
    “The largest single use of electricity in the entire state of California is to pump water over those mountains into Los Angeles,” said Andy Lipkis, founder and president of the nonprofit TreePeople. He pointed toward the mountain ranges abutting the Grapevine, the route through which our Sierra-sourced water flows through a huge — and hugely expensive — system of aqueducts and tunnels. .. Lipkis believes we can use technology to replicate citywide a tree’s natural and remarkable ability to capture and store rainwater. He predicts that if Los Angeles implements such a system, it would become both less reliant on imported water and less prone to flooding.  And maybe — Lipkis emphasizes that it’s a big maybe — the region could also become a little bit more flush with cash if a larger rainwater capture system bring about a smaller water bureaucracy and lower electric costs from not having to pump so much water over those mountains….

    Rainwater from neighborhoods north of Elmer Avenue would flow downhill and gather in giant puddles on the street, making driving and walking nearly impossible during and after a rainfall. For TreePeople and a group of other nonprofits and agencies led by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council (now the Council for Watershed Health), Elmer Avenue’s predicament became a perfect site to experiment with a rainwater capture model. Today, the street looks like one of the newest residential blocks in the city — new sidewalks, a newly paved road and, to Lipkis’ delight, a sophisticated rainwater-capture system. Front yards are filled with plants and native trees that require little water to survive but also store large amounts of moisture. When rainwater hits the street, it flows into drains that direct the water to a 5.2 million-gallon underground infiltration apparatus, which then filters the water into the ground. That’s where nature takes over and brings it to a natural underground aquifer.  Rain that falls on houses is directed via gutters into rain barrels, onto lawns, and to porous driveways as well as to trees and swales — depressions that store water until they soak into the ground — next to the sidewalk. And if the swale fills up? The excess flows into the street, where it then flows to a nearby drain that leads to a large underground water storage device that eventually will redirect the water into a natural aquifer.
    This simple but effective system echoes similar rainwater-capture projects that TreePeople has implemented…