Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Ellie Cohen, President and CEO, Point Blue Conservation Science

Archive: Jun 2014

  1. Earlier snowmelt prompting earlier breeding of Arctic birds

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    Just hatched Arctic shorebirds, like this long-billed dowitcher above, need to feed on abundant insects to grow and get ready for their southward migration in mid-summer. With earlier and earlier springs, shorebirds and other Arctic birds are challenged to adjust the timing of their breeding to insure that young have abundant resources. Credit: Steve Zack

     

    Earlier snowmelt prompting earlier breeding of Arctic birds

    Posted: 25 Jun 2014 12:12 PM PDT

     

    Biologists have found that migratory birds that breed in Arctic Alaska are initiating nests earlier in the spring, and that snowmelt occurring earlier in the season is a big reason why. The report, “Phenological advancement in arctic bird species: relative importance of snow melt and ecological factors,” appears in the current on-line edition of the journal Polar Biology. Lead author Joe Liebezeit (formerly with WCS) and co-author Steve Zack of WCS [and Point Blue research associate) have conducted research on Arctic birds and conservation issues in Alaska for more than a decade…. Researchers looked in nearly 2,500 nests of four shorebird species: semi-palmated sandpiper, red phalarope, red-necked phalarope, and pectoral sandpiper, and one songbird, the lapland longspur, and recorded when the first eggs were laid in each nest. The research occurred across four sites that ranged from the oilfields of Prudhoe Bay to the remote National Petroleum Reserve of western Arctic Alaska. Snow melt was assessed in nesting plots at different intervals in the early spring.

     

    Other variables, like nest predator abundance (which is thought to affect timing of breeding), and satellite measures of “green-up”(the seasonal flush of new growth of vegetation) in the tundra were also assessed as potential drivers of the change in nest timing, but were found to be less important than snow melt. “It seems clear that the timing of the snow melt in Arctic Alaska is the most important mechanism driving the earlier and earlier breeding dates we observed in the Arctic,” said Liebezeit. “The rates of advancement in earlier breeding are higher in Arctic birds than in other temperate bird species, and this accords with the fact that the Arctic climate is changing at twice the rate.”… WCS Coordinator of Bird Conservation Steve Zack said, “Migratory birds are nesting earlier in the changing Arctic, presumably to track the earlier springs and abundance of insect prey. Many of these birds winter in the tropics and might be compromising their complicated calendar of movements to accommodate this change. We’re concerned that there will be a threshold where they will no longer be able to track the emergence of these earlier springs, which may impact breeding success or even population viability.”

     

    J. R. Liebezeit, K. E. B. Gurney, M. Budde, S. Zack, D. Ward. Phenological advancement in arctic bird species: relative importance of snow melt and ecological factors. Polar Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00300-014-1522-x

  2. How a Wavy Jet Stream [from Climate Change] Fuels Cold, Hot Weather Extremes

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    How a Wavy Jet Stream Fuels Cold, Hot Weather Extremes

    Brian Kahn, Climate Central Published: Jun 23, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT weather.com

    Animation of the jet stream as it moves over North America, illustrating its troughs and ridges. (NASA)

    The pattern of a wavy jet stream was a recurring theme in U.S. weather forecasts this winter as a particularly jagged one essentially split the country in two. While there is a debate over whether climate change causes that pattern, new research shows that the waviness does exacerbate extreme weather. The research, published in Nature Climate Change on Sunday, looked at planetary waves on a monthly timescale.
    Waves are essentially the ridges and troughs left as the jet stream, a fast-moving river of air, cuts it way across the middle of the northern hemisphere. The jet stream essentially helps drive weather patterns around the northern half of the globe by pushing around storm systems and sometimes impeding their progress. James Screen, a climate scientist at the University of Exeter who co-authored the study, said he wanted to examine how planetary waves influenced persistent weather patterns, such as drought or extreme heat or cold. He examined the timeframe from 1979-2010, looking for 40 months that exhibited the most extreme precipitation, and for 40 months that showed the most extreme temperature departures from the norm. And the data showed that more wavy waves overwhelmingly accompanied months with temperature or precipitation extremes. Only a small percentage of months with extreme weather corresponded with a more relaxed series of waves…..

    ….Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Corporation for Atmospheric Research, said the study quantified a fairly well known pattern, though one he said climate scientists often take for granted. Climate researchers have started to look at these waves more closely, from how to use them to predict heat waves to how climate change could alter them. commentary in Science last month argued that climate change was at least in part to blame for the pattern that set up over the U.S. this past winter by making waves more common. That commentary is based on research published in 2012 that made the case for why rapid Arctic warming is increasing the odds of wilder planetary waves. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as areas around the equator because of unique feedbacks involving ice cover in the region. The research argues that as the temperature gradient between the poles and the equator decreases, planetary waves are getting out of whack and becoming even more extreme, though other research has challenged those findings…..Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Rutgers University who proposed the hypothesis, said there’s a ways to go toward understanding how climate change could affect planetary waves, and the meanderings of the jet stream. “This is a complicated problem, and finding answers is further challenged by the short time period over which those regional temperature changes have emerged as clear signals from the highly variable atmosphere,” she said in an email. “New approaches to this question are underway, however, and I’m confident that a clearer picture will come to light in the next few years.” Francis also stressed that understanding waves is just one component of understanding the larger category of extreme weather. Natural fluctuations in ocean temperatures, such as El Niño, and human-caused deforestation and air pollution, can all have an impact. Smaller fluctuations in the atmosphere can also lead to sudden, shorter-scale extreme events. Trenberth said that putting aside the impact climate change could have on waves, it can also alter the water cycle because a warmer atmosphere can hold more water, increasing the odds of heavy precipitation and extreme dryness.

  3. Drought, Wet Meadows and Sage Grouse: A Partner Biologist’s Perspective

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    Drought, Wet Meadows and Sage Grouse: A Partner Biologist’s Perspective

    By Tiffany Russell, Northeast California Partner Biologist, Point Blue Conservation Science for the Intermountain West Joint Venture

    Tiffany Russell and Ryan Burnett from Point Blue Conservation Science in the field at Cradle Valley. Photo by Wendell Gilgert

    When people think of California, they often think of palm trees and beaches, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, or maybe Yosemite. What some don’t realize is that our diverse state contains large expanses of sagebrush habitat in its northeastern corner. This area is reminiscent of the old West: vast open landscapes, small mountain towns, sheepherders and cattlemen, and the ever-present scent of sage in the air. Within this region, on the edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Cascades, and the Modoc Plateau, the Greater Sage Grouse still survives at the western-most part of its range…..

    Photos by Tiffany Russell, Point Blue Conservation Science

  4. New Climate Change Adaptation Manual—Evidence to support nature conservation in a changing world (UK)

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    New Climate Change Adaptation Manual—Evidence to support nature conservation in a changing world (UK)

     


     

    Science into practice: Helping nature conservationists prepare for climate change

    3 June 2014

    Natural England and the RSPB, in partnership with the Environment Agency’s Climate Ready Support Service and the Forestry Commission have today published a new resource for conservation practitioners: ‘Climate change adaptation manual: evidence to support nature conservation in a changing climate’. There is strong evidence that climate change is already affecting wildlife and habitats; species such as the Dartford warbler and the bee orchid are moving further north and recent storms have highlighted the vulnerability of coastal and wetland habitats. But we can reduce the risks of climate change and, in some cases, make the most of new opportunities for species and habitats.  The Climate Change Adaptation Manual helps land managers and conservationists to plan and take action to limit the impacts of climate change on the natural environment. This is a ground-breaking step forward in responding to the risks recently highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its report ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’. The manual is a hands-on document giving up-to-date, detailed, habitat-specific information for conservation managers to use, to prepare and respond to a changing climate.  It is divided into three sections, focusing on:

    • the key concepts for making decisions about adaptation and the impact of climate change on the natural environment;
    • climate change impacts and potential adaptation responses for 27 of England’s most important habitats; and
    • the relationship between climate change and the delivery of ecosystem services.

    ….Martin Harper, Conservation Director at the RSPB said: “We’re already witnessing the impacts of climate change at RSPB nature reserves across the country – and we’re taking action to ensure we protect wildlife from these changes. If we are going to help threatened species adapt to a warmer climate then we need to act fast. We also need to work together and share knowledge and experience – I hope this manual will help us do just that. Science has given us a clear warning about the future and we have no excuse for not acting now.”……The Climate Change Adaptation Manual can be found on Natural England’s publications catalogue.

    FROM THE MANUAL:

    2. Principles of climate change adaptation

     

    This section introduces climate change adaptation in general terms and provides links to the main evidence and policy documents. Adaptation is about tackling the vulnerabilities and risks climate change brings and making the most of any opportunities. More formally, adaptation can be defined as the adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities, (IPCC 4th Assessment report Working Group 2 Glossary). Adaptation is necessary and relevant to all areas of life. Within the UK, the National

    While the natural environment is the focus of this manual, it cannot be seen in isolation from wider human needs and activities. There is increasing evidence that the natural environment can be managed in ways that will help people adapt to climate change, as well as providing benefits for nature and its conservation. This is sometimes known as ecosystem – based adaptation, and examples include creating wetlands where they can provide a buffer against flooding, and creating green spaces or planting trees in towns to lower the temperature locally (as a result of shading and the cooling effect of water loss from leaves).On the other hand, it is possible for adaptation in one sector to hinder adaptation in others. For example, hard sea defences designed to reduce coastal flooding may prevent the natural readjustment of the shoreline and lead to a loss of coastal habitats. There are circumstances in which this may have to be accepted, for example to protect coastal towns, but often it will be possible to identify alternatives, using coastal habitats as ‘soft’ defences that provide adaptation for both people and nature.

     

    The concept of sustainable adaptation provides a useful way of looking at some of the prerequisites for a long-term, integrated approach to adaptation, including the synergies and trade-offs associated with cross-sectoral adaptation.

     

    Four principles for sustainable adaptation have been proposed (Macgregor and Cowan 2011):

    1. Adaptation should aim to maintain or enhance the environmental, social and economic benefits provided by a system, while accepting and accommodating inevitable changes to it.

    2. Adaptation should not solve one problem while creating or worsening others. Action that has multiple benefits and avoids creating negative effects for other people, places and sectors should be prioritised.

    3. Adaptation should seek to increase resilience to a wide range of future risks and address all aspects of vulnerability, rather than focusing solely on specific projected climate impacts.

    4. Approaches to adaptation should be flexible and not limit future action.

     

    Adaptation options can only be evaluated in this way if the objectives and benefits of conservation action are clearly framed. We need to understand what we are adapting for, as well as the impacts we are adapting to. An important aspect of sustainable adaptation is identifying action that would maintain or enhance the multiple benefits an area provides to society, by reducing vulnerability to a range of possible consequences of climate change. Climate projections necessarily define a range of potential future climates, and there is considerable uncertainty about the cascade of possible consequences for natural systems. It is usually more appropriate to consider a broad range of likely outcomes, as highly detailed or precise projections risk giving a false level of confidence; the UK Climate Projections 2009 facilitate this approach. Adaptive management is a commonly used management concept, not specific to climate change adaptation, and is based on a cycle of action, monitoring, review, and, if necessary, revision of actions. It is especially relevant to climate change adaptation, where the nature of impacts and the effectiveness of adaptation measures will become clearer over time. Effective monitoring of changes in the species, habitats and other features of the site is an essential prerequisitefor this approach. Monitoring of the effectiveness of interventions is also required.

     

    While some adaptation measures, such as changing grassland management, or increasing the capture of winter rain, may take only a few years to implement, others such as creating habitats can take much longer. For example, the RSPB’s Lakenheath Fen project took around ten years from inception to bitterns becoming established. Other habitats, for example woodland, are likely to take much longer to mature and achieve their desired ecological state. With such long lead-in times for some adaptation measures, it is important to start adaption now.

     

    The Government’s National Adaptation Programme sets out 4 focal areas for adaptation in the natural environment.

    ■■ Building ecological resilience to the impacts of climate change;

    ■■ Preparing for and accommodating inevitable change;

    ■■ Valuing the wider adaptation benefits the natural environment can deliver;

    ■■ Improving the evidence base.

     

    The following sections expand on these areas.

     

    And the US Climate-Smart Conservation Guide:

     


     
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The National Wildlife Federation’s Climate Smart Conservation – Putting Adaptation Principles Into Practice looks at how climate change already is affecting the nation’s wildlife and habitats, and addresses how natural resource managers will need to prepare for and adapt to these unprecedented changes. Developed by a broad collaboration of experts from federal, state, and non-governmental institutions, the guide offers practical steps for crafting conservation actions to enhance the resilience of the natural ecosystems on which wildlife and people depend.

  5. Conservation Science News June 27, 2014

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    Focus of the WeekNew Climate Change Adaptation Manual—Evidence to support nature conservation in a changing world (UK)

    1-ECOLOGY, BIODIVERSITY, RELATED

    2-CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTREME EVENTS

    3- ADAPTATION

    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 the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative Newsletter or the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium listserve to receive this or you can email me directly at Ellie Cohen, ecohen at pointblue.org if you want your name added to or dropped from this list. 

    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- New Climate Change Adaptation Manual—Evidence to support nature conservation in a changing world (UK)

     


     

    Science into practice: Helping nature conservationists prepare for climate change

    3 June 2014

    Natural England and the RSPB, in partnership with the Environment Agency’s Climate Ready Support Service and the Forestry Commission have today published a new resource for conservation practitioners: ‘Climate change adaptation manual: evidence to support nature conservation in a changing climate’. There is strong evidence that climate change is already affecting wildlife and habitats; species such as the Dartford warbler and the bee orchid are moving further north and recent storms have highlighted the vulnerability of coastal and wetland habitats. But we can reduce the risks of climate change and, in some cases, make the most of new opportunities for species and habitats.  The Climate Change Adaptation Manual helps land managers and conservationists to plan and take action to limit the impacts of climate change on the natural environment. This is a ground-breaking step forward in responding to the risks recently highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its report ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’. The manual is a hands-on document giving up-to-date, detailed, habitat-specific information for conservation managers to use, to prepare and respond to a changing climate.  It is divided into three sections, focusing on:

    • the key concepts for making decisions about adaptation and the impact of climate change on the natural environment;
    • climate change impacts and potential adaptation responses for 27 of England’s most important habitats; and
    • the relationship between climate change and the delivery of ecosystem services.

    ….Martin Harper, Conservation Director at the RSPB said: “We’re already witnessing the impacts of climate change at RSPB nature reserves across the country – and we’re taking action to ensure we protect wildlife from these changes. If we are going to help threatened species adapt to a warmer climate then we need to act fast. We also need to work together and share knowledge and experience – I hope this manual will help us do just that. Science has given us a clear warning about the future and we have no excuse for not acting now.”……The Climate Change Adaptation Manual can be found on Natural England’s publications catalogue.

    FROM THE MANUAL:

    2. Principles of climate change adaptation

     

    This section introduces climate change adaptation in general terms and provides links to the main evidence and policy documents. Adaptation is about tackling the vulnerabilities and risks climate change brings and making the most of any opportunities. More formally, adaptation can be defined as the adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities, (IPCC 4th Assessment report Working Group 2 Glossary). Adaptation is necessary and relevant to all areas of life. Within the UK, the National

    While the natural environment is the focus of this manual, it cannot be seen in isolation from wider human needs and activities. There is increasing evidence that the natural environment can be managed in ways that will help people adapt to climate change, as well as providing benefits for nature and its conservation. This is sometimes known as ecosystem – based adaptation, and examples include creating wetlands where they can provide a buffer against flooding, and creating green spaces or planting trees in towns to lower the temperature locally (as a result of shading and the cooling effect of water loss from leaves).On the other hand, it is possible for adaptation in one sector to hinder adaptation in others. For example, hard sea defences designed to reduce coastal flooding may prevent the natural readjustment of the shoreline and lead to a loss of coastal habitats. There are circumstances in which this may have to be accepted, for example to protect coastal towns, but often it will be possible to identify alternatives, using coastal habitats as ‘soft’ defences that provide adaptation for both people and nature.

     

    The concept of sustainable adaptation provides a useful way of looking at some of the prerequisites for a long-term, integrated approach to adaptation, including the synergies and trade-offs associated with cross-sectoral adaptation.

     

    Four principles for sustainable adaptation have been proposed (Macgregor and Cowan 2011):

    1. Adaptation should aim to maintain or enhance the environmental, social and economic benefits provided by a system, while accepting and accommodating inevitable changes to it.

    2. Adaptation should not solve one problem while creating or worsening others. Action that has multiple benefits and avoids creating negative effects for other people, places and sectors should be prioritised.

    3. Adaptation should seek to increase resilience to a wide range of future risks and address all aspects of vulnerability, rather than focusing solely on specific projected climate impacts.

    4. Approaches to adaptation should be flexible and not limit future action.

     

    Adaptation options can only be evaluated in this way if the objectives and benefits of conservation action are clearly framed. We need to understand what we are adapting for, as well as the impacts we are adapting to. An important aspect of sustainable adaptation is identifying action that would maintain or enhance the multiple benefits an area provides to society, by reducing vulnerability to a range of possible consequences of climate change. Climate projections necessarily define a range of potential future climates, and there is considerable uncertainty about the cascade of possible consequences for natural systems. It is usually more appropriate to consider a broad range of likely outcomes, as highly detailed or precise projections risk giving a false level of confidence; the UK Climate Projections 2009 facilitate this approach. Adaptive management is a commonly used management concept, not specific to climate change adaptation, and is based on a cycle of action, monitoring, review, and, if necessary, revision of actions. It is especially relevant to climate change adaptation, where the nature of impacts and the effectiveness of adaptation measures will become clearer over time. Effective monitoring of changes in the species, habitats and other features of the site is an essential prerequisitefor this approach. Monitoring of the effectiveness of interventions is also required.

     

    While some adaptation measures, such as changing grassland management, or increasing the capture of winter rain, may take only a few years to implement, others such as creating habitats can take much longer. For example, the RSPB’s Lakenheath Fen project took around ten years from inception to bitterns becoming established. Other habitats, for example woodland, are likely to take much longer to mature and achieve their desired ecological state. With such long lead-in times for some adaptation measures, it is important to start adaption now.

     

    The Government’s National Adaptation Programme sets out 4 focal areas for adaptation in the natural environment.

    ■■ Building ecological resilience to the impacts of climate change;

    ■■ Preparing for and accommodating inevitable change;

    ■■ Valuing the wider adaptation benefits the natural environment can deliver;

    ■■ Improving the evidence base.

     

    The following sections expand on these areas.

     

    And the US Climate-Smart Conservation Guide:

     


     
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The National Wildlife Federation’s Climate Smart Conservation – Putting Adaptation Principles Into Practice looks at how climate change already is affecting the nation’s wildlife and habitats, and addresses how natural resource managers will need to prepare for and adapt to these unprecedented changes. Developed by a broad collaboration of experts from federal, state, and non-governmental institutions, the guide offers practical steps for crafting conservation actions to enhance the resilience of the natural ecosystems on which wildlife and people depend.

     

     

     

     

    Observer aging and long-term avian survey data quality

    Robert G. Farmer1,*,Marty L. Leonard1, Joanna E. Mills Flemming2 and Sean C. Anderson1,3 Article first published online: 26 MAY 2014 DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1101 © 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Ecology and Evolution
    Volume 4, Issue 12, pages 2563–2576, June 2014

    Abstract

    Long-term wildlife monitoring involves collecting time series data, often using the same observers over multiple years. Aging-related changes to these observers may be an important, under-recognized source of error that can bias management decisions. In this study, we used data from two large, independent bird surveys, the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (“OBBA”) and the North American Breeding Bird Survey (“BBS”), to test for age-related observer effects in long-term time series of avian presence and abundance. We then considered the effect of such aging phenomena on current population trend estimates. We found significantly fewer detections among older versus younger observers for 13 of 43 OBBA species, and declines in detection as an observer ages for 4 of 6 vocalization groups comprising 59 of 64 BBS species. Consistent with hearing loss influencing this pattern, we also found evidence for increasingly severe detection declines with increasing call frequency among nine high-pitched bird species (OBBA); however, there were also detection declines at other frequencies, suggesting important additional effects of aging, independent of hearing loss. We lastly found subtle, significant relationships between some species’ published population trend estimates and (1) their corresponding vocalization frequency (n ≥ 22 species) and (2) their estimated declines in detectability among older observers (n = 9 high-frequency, monotone species), suggesting that
    observer aging can negatively bias long-term monitoring data for some species in part through hearing loss effects. We recommend that survey designers and modelers account for observer age where possible.

     


    Organic Agriculture Boosts Biodiversity on Farmlands


    June 26, 2014 — Organic farming fosters biodiversity. At least that’s the theory. In practice, however, the number of habitats on the land plays an important role alongside the type and intensity of farming practices. These are the findings of an international study that looked at 10 regions in Europe and two in Africa. The study shows that even organic farms have to actively support biodiversity by, for example, conserving different habitats on their holdings….

     

    Land management trumps the effects of climate change and elevated CO2 on grassland functioning

    Aurélie Thébault1,2,3,†, Pierre Mariotte4,†,*, Christopher J. Lortie5 and Andrew S. MacDougall3 Article first published online: 23 JUN 2014 DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12236

    Journal of Ecology
    Volume 102, Issue 4, pages 896–904, July 2014

    Summary

    1. Grasslands cover ˜30% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface and provide many ecosystem services. Many grasslands are heavily managed to maximize these services for human benefit, but the outcome of management is anticipated to be increasingly influenced by various aspects of climate change and elevated atmospheric CO2. The relative importance of global change vs. land management on grasslands is largely unknown.
    2. A meta-analysis is used here to examine drivers at both scales primarily targeting services provided by grasslands relating to plant productivity (above- and below-ground biomass) and soil processes (nutrients and soil respiration) in 38 manipulative experiments published in the last decade. We specifically target effects of (i) single and combined land management practices (LMs), (ii) single and combined factors relating to broad-scale climate change and elevated CO2, and (iii) combined management practices and changes to climate and CO2. Collectively, this examines the general efficacy of global change models in predicting changes to grassland functioning.
    3. We found that combinations of management practices had approximately double the explanatory power for variation in grassland services compared with individual or interactive effects of factors associated with climate change and CO2. These interacting management practices such as nutrient additions and defoliation predominantly influenced functions associated with productivity or biomass both below and above ground. The effects of interacting factors of climate and CO2 influenced a wider range of ecosystem functions, but the magnitude of these effects was relatively smaller.
    4. Interactions between management practices or between climate change/CO2 factors always had higher explanatory power than any factor in isolation indicating that multivariate synergistic models of environmental change can better describe impacts on ecosystem function in plant communities (e.g. relative to univariate climate-based models). Given that the magnitude and direction (positive or negative) of the interactions varied widely, this also implies that the outcomes of these multivariate interactions can vary spatially, temporally or by immediate context (e.g. management prescriptions).
    5. Synthesis. Although our work confirms how climate change and CO2 can affect many ecosystem-based functional attributes, it suggests that combinations of LMs [land management practices] remain the dominant set of factors in determining the performance of grassland plant communities. Land management may thus be critical for influencing projected responses to future climate change and elevated CO2 in models of grassland function at least for factors relating to primary production.

     

    Monarch butterflies employ a magnetic compass during migration

    Posted: 24 Jun 2014 02:23 PM PDT

    Scientists have identified a new component of the complex navigational system that allows monarch butterflies to transverse the 2,000 miles to their overwintering habitat each year. Monarchs use a light-dependent, inclination magnetic compass to help them orient southward during migration.

     

     

    The interactions between the Common Cuckoo and its hosts (like the Reed Warbler shown on the left, caring for a much larger cuckoo chick) provide … Credit: David Kjaer (left) and Mary Caswell Stoddard/Natural History Museum, UK (centre, right)

    Birds evolve ‘signature’ patterns to distinguish cuckoo eggs from their own

    Posted: 18 Jun 2014 04:17 AM PDT

    For some birds, recognizing their own eggs can be a matter of life or death. In a new study, scientists have shown that many birds affected by the parasitic Common Cuckoo — which lays its lethal offspring in other birds’ nests — have evolved distinctive patterns on their eggs in order to distinguish them from those laid by a cuckoo cheat.

     

    Mary Caswell Stoddard, Rebecca M. Kilner, Christopher Town. Pattern recognition algorithm reveals how birds evolve individual egg pattern signatures. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5117

     

     

    POINT BLUE in the news:

     

    Drought, Wet Meadows and Sage Grouse: A Partner Biologist’s Perspective

    By Tiffany Russell, Northeast California Partner Biologist, Point Blue Conservation Science for the Intermountain West Joint Venture

    Tiffany Russell and Ryan Burnett from Point Blue Conservation Science in the field at Cradle Valley. Photo by Wendell Gilgert

    When people think of California, they often think of palm trees and beaches, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, or maybe Yosemite. What some don’t realize is that our diverse state contains large expanses of sagebrush habitat in its northeastern corner. This area is reminiscent of the old West: vast open landscapes, small mountain towns, sheepherders and cattlemen, and the ever-present scent of sage in the air. Within this region, on the edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Cascades, and the Modoc Plateau, the Greater Sage Grouse still survives at the western-most part of its range…..

    Photos by Tiffany Russell, Point Blue Conservation Science

     

    Emperor penguins are more willing to relocate than expected

    Posted: 20 Jun 2014 09:04 AM PDT

    The long-term future of emperor penguins is becoming more clear, thanks to new research showing that the penguins may be behaving in ways that allow them to adapt to their changing environment better than expected. Researchers have long thought that emperor penguins were philopatric, which means they would return to the same location to nest each year. The new research study used satellite images to show that penguins may not be faithful to previous nesting locations.

     

    A call to better protect Antarctica: Human activity threatening continent

    Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 AM PDT

    With visitor numbers surging, Antarctica’s ice-free land needs better protection from human activities, leading environmental scientists say. The new study found that all 55 areas designated for protection lie close to sites of human activity. Antarctica has over 40,000 visitors a year, and more and more research facilities are being built in the continent’s tiny ice-free area. Most of the Antarctic wildlife and plants live in the ice-free areas — and this is also where people most visit.

     

    Bees and butterflies get a boost from the feds

    By Nathanael Johnson slate.com June 24, 2014

    After bailing out automakers and Wall Street bankers, the U.S. government has now rolled out a pair of programs to assist a more sympathetic recipient: insects. There’s finally a bailout for the bee and butterfly bankruptcy! U.S. farmers have gotten better and better at controlling weeds in their fields, and that’s been a disaster for monarch butterflies. Monarchs rely on one specific field plant: milkweed. They can’t survive without it. The populations of both milkweed and monarchs have taken a tumble with the rise of effective weed control, via the herbicide glyphosate and GMO crops that tolerate glyphosate. At the same time, honey bees have been dying off because of the mysterious colony collapse disorder, and many native bee populations are foundering. The White House just announced that it is creating a strategy to assist pollinators. The initial memo isn’t exactly revolutionary: It creates a task force and gives it six months to come up with a plan. There’s no new funding or regulation. So, okay, not the actual cash bailout that pollinators might have been hoping for. But there’s some muscle in this memo: It directs the departments in the executive branch to start increasing pollinator habitat. If the Department of Transportation starts planting butterfly gardens along every highway and the Department of Defense does the same on military bases, that’s a lot of real estate. There’s even more real estate under the control of the Department of the Interior. And the Department of Agriculture is also supposed to help out, by planting native seed mixes after forest fires, and helping farmers and ranchers plant for pollinators in their extra space: Hedgerows and fencelines could bloom. Finally, the memo directs the EPA to take a closer look at pesticides that kill pollinators, and, if appropriate, protect habitat from insecticides. These new efforts will contribute to programs that are already up and running. For example, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Xerces Society, a nonprofit for invertebrates, are already working together to produce milkweed seeds. The challenge is to find seeds that will thrive in the different biomes around the country. They’ve already produced over 35 million milkweed seeds and planted 120,000 acres for monarchs and other pollinators. Projects like this are great, though probably not enough on their own. For now, the change from business as usual amounts to just words. We’ll have to check in six months from now and see how the strategy pans out.

     

     

    Presidential Memorandum — Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators

    White House MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
    DATE: June 20, 2014

    SUBJECT: Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators

    Pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from the environment. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment…… [read more online]

     

     

    Maybe birds can have it all: Dazzling colors and pretty songs

    Posted: 18 Jun 2014 11:26 AM PDT

    A study of one of the world’s largest and most colorful bird families has dispelled a long-held notion, first proposed by Charles Darwin, that animals are limited in their options to evolve showiness. “Animals have limited resources, and they have to spend those in order to develop showy plumage or precision singing that help them attract mates and defend territories,” said the paper’s lead author. “So it seems to make sense that you can’t have both. But our study took a more detailed look and suggests that actually, some species can.”

     

     

     

    Illegal drone flights over Monterey Bay sanctuary draw warning

    By David Perlman SF Chronicle June 23, 2014 | Updated: June 24, 2014 5:28pm

    Officials at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary are reminding the public that flying drones – or even model aircraft – is strictly forbidden over the sanctuary’s sensitive coastal areas.

    The reminder came after sanctuary officials received several complaints this year about drones buzzing over the sanctuary. In one instance, two drones flying over the grounds of Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station near Pacific Grove frightened a rookery of harbor seals – many with newborn pups and others pregnant – from a resting area into the ocean, said Scott Kathey, regulatory coordinator for the sanctuary. Two volunteer guides observed the stampeding seals and asked two men to stop flying their drones over the animals, Kathey said. “The guys just brushed the volunteers off,” he said.

    Since 1992, federal regulations have required aircraft of any kind to fly above 1,000 feet over particularly sensitive coastal areas of the sanctuary, he said. Because the Federal Aviation Administration bans drones and model aircraft from flying above 400 feet anywhere, use of the unmanned craft in these zones is illegal under any circumstance, he said….

     

     


    The waters just offshore from Point Arena support some of the most nutrient dense and productive ecosystems in the world. Image courtesy of Flickr user Iris

    Boundary Expansion for National Marine Sanctuaries in California Will Help Protect Marine Ecosystems, Foster Healthy Fisheries

    Posted by Rietta on Friday, May 30th, 2014

    In the entire United States, we have 14 special areas of the ocean and the Great Lakes that we’ve deemed necessary to protect. California alone is home to four of these National Marine Sanctuaries, with our stretch of Pacific ocean containing some of the most productive and diverse ecosystems of any coastline in the world. Cordell Bank, the Gulf of the Farallones, and Monterey Bay NMS protect these amazing ecosystems and ensure that they will continue to thrive, providing our coastal communities with jobs in fisheries and ecotourism. Now we are in the process of expanding the borders of Cordell Bank and the Gulf of the Farallones with a proposal that would more than double their size if the plan is approved. The proposed sanctuary expansion was initiated by public interest to prevent oil and gas exploration along the north coast, but the plan has been met with resistance from people concerned about commercial and recreational fishing restrictions. In actuality, the boundary expansion would ensure that these extremely productive coastal waters would be protected from harmful human activities, making it beneficial for local fisheries. These protected areas have a trickle-down effect for consumers, allowing them to keep their favorite local seafood items in stock at local markets and restaurants…..

     

    This shrew is more elephant than mouse

    Science AAAS

     - ‎June 27, 2014‎

           

    A cute new species of shrew has been discovered in the desert of Namibia. Though the little guy may look like a mouse, it shares more of its DNA with elephants, The Daily Mail reports.

     

    Obama plans world’s largest ocean preserve in Pacific

    Associated Press June 17, 2014

    Washington — Moving to protect fragile marine life, President Obama announced plans Tuesday to create the largest ocean preserve in the world by banning drilling, fishing and other activities in a massive stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

     

    Plastic Waste Causes $13 Billion In Damages To Marine Ecosystems Each Year

    More than 30 percent of the natural capital costs of plastic are due to greenhouse gas emissions from raw material extraction and processing.

    By Eco Watch | June 24, 2014

    Concern is growing over the threat that widespread plastic waste poses to marine life, with conservative estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems standing at $13 billion USD each year, according to two reports released on the opening day of the first UN Environment Assembly. The eleventh edition of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Year Book looks at ten issues flagged as emerging by previous reports over the past decade, including plastic waste in the ocean. The UNEP Year Book 2014 gives an update on each issue and provides options for action. Other areas covered include the environmental impacts of excess nitrogen and marine aquaculture, air pollution’s deadly toll and the potential of citizen science. Plastic, a UNEP-supported report produced by the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) and Trucost, makes the business case for managing and disclosing plastic use in the consumer goods industry. It finds that the overall natural capital cost of plastic use in the consumer goods sector each year is $75 billion USD—financial impacts resulting from issues such as pollution of the marine environment or air pollution caused by incinerating plastic. The report says that more than 30 percent of the natural capital costs of plastic are due to greenhouse gas emissions from raw material extraction and processing. However, it notes that marine pollution is the largest downstream cost, and that the figure of $13 billion USD is likely a significant underestimate…

     

     

    Why Are We Importing Our Own Fish?

    By PAUL GREENBERG NY Times Opinion JUNE 20, 2014

    Hundreds of shrimp trawlers setting off from the Shenjiamen fishing port in eastern China in 2010. Credit Hu Sheyou/Xinhua Press, via Corbis

    …..As go scallops, so goes the nation. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, even though the United States controls more ocean than any other country, 86 percent of the seafood we consume is imported. But it’s much fishier than that: While a majority of the seafood Americans eat is foreign, a third of what Americans catch is sold to foreigners….The seafood industry, it turns out, is a great example of the swaps, delete-and-replace maneuvers and other mechanisms that define so much of the outsourced American economy; you can find similar, seemingly inefficient phenomena in everything from textiles to technology. The difference with seafood, though, is that we’re talking about the destruction and outsourcing of the very ecological infrastructure that underpins the health of our coasts. Let’s walk through these illogical arrangements, course by course. ….

    Most seafood eaters know the sad story of the Atlantic cod. The ill effects of the postwar buildup of industrialized American fishing are epitomized by that fish’s overexploitation: Gorton’s fish sticks and McDonald’s Filets-o-Fish all once rode on the backs of billions of cod. The codfish populations of North America plummeted and have yet to return. Just as the North Atlantic was falling as a fish-stick producer, the Pacific rose. …..

    There was a time when “nova lox” was exactly that: wild Atlantic salmon (laks in Norwegian) caught off Nova Scotia or elsewhere in the North Atlantic. But most wild Atlantic salmon populations have been fished to commercial extinction, and today a majority of our lox comes from selectively bred farmed salmon, with Chile our largest supplier. This is curious, given that salmon are not native to the Southern Hemisphere. But after Norwegian aquaculture companies took them there in the ’80s, they became so numerous as to be considered an invasive species…..And I’d suggest that all this fish swapping contributes to an often fraudulent seafood marketplace, where nearly half of the oceanic products sold may be mislabeled. We can have no more intimate relationship with our environment than to eat from it. During the last century that intimacy has been lost, and with it our pathway to one of the most healthful American foods. It is our obligation to reclaim this intimacy. This requires us not just to eat local seafood; it requires the establishment of a working relationship with our marine environment. It means, in short, making seafood not only central to personal health, but critical to the larger health of the nation.

    Paul Greenberg is the author of the forthcoming book “American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood,” from which this essay was adapted.

     

     

    Plastic Stones, Melting Snails: 3 New Ways To Maim a Planet

    Humans to Earth: “Drop dead”

    Keegan Meyer saves equipment from DBE Manufacturing via boat after an area of town flooded in Greeley, Colorado. Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

    By Coco McPherson June 24, 2014 12:20 PM ET Rolling Stone

    …..Many scientists argue we’re in the Anthropocene, defined chiefly by human activity permanently altering the Earth. Three horrifying discoveries support the argument:

    1. PLASTIC STONES

    This month brought news of plastiglomerate formations on beaches. These “stones” are monstrous anthropogenic composites of plastic, sand, wood, rocks, shells, rubber tubing and fishing junk including nets, rope and anything else melted plastic might adhere to. Because plastic degrades so slowly, these plastic stones are now part of the planet’s geological record; a permanent marker of our civilization. Oceanographer Captain Charles Moore, a marine plastic pollution expert who discovered the stones, also identified the hideous North Pacific gyre, a plastic-saturated stretch of ocean that’s one of the most polluted areas in the world. In 1999, plastic pollution in the gyre outweighed zooplankton 6 to 1; now it’s 36 to 1. What’s to be done with the estimated 600 billion pounds of plastic manufactured every year?
    2. MELTING SNAILS

    In April, scientists reported that an acidifying Pacific Ocean had corroded and dissolved the shells of sea snails, a critical food source for fish including herring, mackerel and salmon. Chemical processes triggered by acidification were depleting the carbonate ions needed by corals, mussels and oysters to form their shells and skeletons. Oceans suck up a lot of the carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere; they’ve absorbed more than 560 billion tons of carbon dioxide since the 1850s, a 50 percent faster increase than any known historical change. The result: ocean acidification, the “other CO2 problem.”
    In Maine’s Casco Bay, scientists placed juvenile clams in mudflats bathed by an acidifying Atlantic Ocean — the clams promptly disintegrated. In addition to CO2 pollution, nitrogen runoff sourced to sewage plants and over-fertilized lawns also threatens Maine’s $60 million shellfish industry. “If I try to talk about climate change and ocean acidification, I lose people,” says Casco baykeeper Joe Payne. “I make it very short-term; the next three years. We’re focused on the fertilizer from people’s lawns that comes down the rivers and down the bay. It’s fertilizing microscopic plants in the water; when they die, bacteria breaks them down and takes oxygen out of the water. The byproduct of decomposition is CO2. We’re getting huge coastal acidification. What’s happening to the mud is astounding.”

    3. SPECIES EXTINCTION

    An asteroid caused the Earth’s fifth great species extinction, but humans have launched a sixth that may rival the effects of that deadly event. Last month, Science reported that animal and plant species are being wiped out at 1,000 times the natural rate. “This is a death rate,” explains the study’s lead author, Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation at Duke. Examining the fossil record, scientists determined how long it took a species to die out there and compared. “We read the obituary notices of species — if not exactly the newspapers but in the scientific literature,” Pimm tells Rolling Stone. “And that tells us that species are dying off at a rate of between 100 and 1,000 extinctions per million species per year.” Comparing this as a rate is important. “If somebody comes to me and says 130 extinctions per million species per year, I can name them, I can tell you where they lived and where they died.” Habitat destruction threatens plants and animals around the globe. In The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert writes that human beings have so altered the physical world that species literally cannot survive: “One of the defining features of the Anthropocene is that the world is changing in ways that compel species to move, and another is that it’s changing in ways that create barriers – roads, clear-cuts, cities – that prevent them from doing so.” In Coastal Brazil, where Stuart Pimm works to restore tropical forests, more species are going extinct than anywhere in the Americas. Only patches of forest remain on a landscape that is now highly fragmented. “We’re being enormously poor stewards,” observes Pimm. “The debate about species extinction is we’ve got a few decades to get our act together. Species are going to die, but the question is, ‘Can we postpone that event?’ We’re not going to get biodiversity back within millions of years. As a global community, are we going to do something about this or are we going to go recklessly headlong into one environmental disaster after another? Yes, this is an emergency. If we don’t do something in the next few decades we will lose. The Sixth Extinction hasn’t happened yet. We’ve done a lot of bad things. But we can stop.”

    Can we really stop? McKibben says pessimism’s a waste of time.” ‘No hope’ is both inaccurate and unhelpful. There’s no hope everything is going to be okay, there’s plenty of reason to hope we can keep it from getting worse than it has to. Which may mean lots of human lives, and lots of other DNA, make it through to the future.”

     

    The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate, by Al Gore

     

     

    CA BLM WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK

     

    In some areas, bears have become a problem. This is most often because:
    (a.) They leave the remains of their prey lying around and breeding flies.
    (b.) They make dens in abandoned houses and empty garages.
    (c.) They knock over trees and destroy other vegetation while chasing prey.
    (d.) They find food in campsites or garbage cans.
    (e.) Someone starts a wildfire and bear with pants shows up with an attitude.
    (f.) Of resentment over decades of lost teddy bear royalties.

    See answer at bottom.

     

     

     

     

    NOAA: May global temperature reaches record high, driven largely by record warm oceans

    June 23, 2014

    According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for May 2014 was the highest for May since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 39th consecutive May and 351st consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average global temperature for May occurred in 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month occurred in February 1985. The majority of the world experienced warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, with record warmth across eastern Kazakhstan, parts of Indonesia, and central and northwestern Australia. Scattered sections across every major ocean basin were also record warm. Part of the northeastern Atlantic, small sections of the northwestern and southeastern Pacific, and the ocean waters off the southern tip of South America were cooler or much cooler than average…….Extreme wetness was observed during May over parts of central and eastern Europe, along with small sections in both eastern and western equatorial Africa. Extreme dryness was scattered across different parts of the globe, including northern and eastern South America, parts of northern and eastern Australia, and sections of East Asia. Some regions in northern and eastern Austria received record monthly rainfall for May. The region north of Salzburg to Mattersburg observed 230 percent of average May precipitation, the most since records began in 1820. Several individual stations set new May precipitation records….

     

     

    Ancient ocean currents may have changed pacing and intensity of ice ages: Slowing of currents may have flipped switch

    Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:16 AM PDT

    Researchers have found that the deep ocean currents that move heat around the globe stalled or even stopped about 950,000 years ago, possibly due to expanding ice cover in the north. The slowing currents increased carbon dioxide storage in the ocean, leaving less in the atmosphere, which kept temperatures cold and kicked the climate system into a new phase of colder but less frequent ice ages, they hypothesize.

     


    Just hatched Arctic shorebirds, like this long-billed dowitcher above, need to feed on abundant insects to grow and get ready for their southward migration in mid-summer. With earlier and earlier springs, shorebirds and other Arctic birds are challenged to adjust the timing of their breeding to insure that young have abundant resources. Credit: Steve Zack

    Earlier snowmelt prompting earlier breeding of Arctic birds

    Posted: 25 Jun 2014 12:12 PM PDT

    Biologists have found that migratory birds that breed in Arctic Alaska are initiating nests earlier in the spring, and that snowmelt occurring earlier in the season is a big reason why. The report, “Phenological advancement in arctic bird species: relative importance of snow melt and ecological factors,” appears in the current on-line edition of the journal Polar Biology. Lead author Joe Liebezeit (formerly with WCS) and co-author Steve Zack of WCS [and Point Blue research associate) have conducted research on Arctic birds and conservation issues in Alaska for more than a decade…. Researchers looked in nearly 2,500 nests of four shorebird species: semi-palmated sandpiper, red phalarope, red-necked phalarope, and pectoral sandpiper, and one songbird, the lapland longspur, and recorded when the first eggs were laid in each nest. The research occurred across four sites that ranged from the oilfields of Prudhoe Bay to the remote National Petroleum Reserve of western Arctic Alaska. Snow melt was assessed in nesting plots at different intervals in the early spring. Other variables, like nest predator abundance (which is thought to affect timing of breeding), and satellite measures of "green-up"(the seasonal flush of new growth of vegetation) in the tundra were also assessed as potential drivers of the change in nest timing, but were found to be less important than snow melt. "It seems clear that the timing of the snow melt in Arctic Alaska is the most important mechanism driving the earlier and earlier breeding dates we observed in the Arctic," said Liebezeit. "The rates of advancement in earlier breeding are higher in Arctic birds than in other temperate bird species, and this accords with the fact that the Arctic climate is changing at twice the rate."… WCS Coordinator of Bird Conservation Steve Zack said, "Migratory birds are nesting earlier in the changing Arctic, presumably to track the earlier springs and abundance of insect prey. Many of these birds winter in the tropics and might be compromising their complicated calendar of movements to accommodate this change. We're concerned that there will be a threshold where they will no longer be able to track the emergence of these earlier springs, which may impact breeding success or even population viability."

     

    J. R. Liebezeit, K. E. B. Gurney, M. Budde, S. Zack, D. Ward. Phenological advancement in arctic bird species: relative importance of snow melt and ecological factors. Polar Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00300-014-1522-x

     


    Restricting Competitors Could Help Threatened Species Cope With Climate Change



    June 24, 2014 — Threatened animal species could cope better with the effects of climate change if competition from other animals for the same habitats is restricted, according to new research. Observing the goats in the Italian Alps during the summer, the researchers found that Chamois tended to move to higher altitudes where it is cooler on hotter days and in the middle of the day, but moved much higher when sheep were present. To their surprise, they discovered that competition with sheep had a far greater effect on Chamois than the predicted effects of future climate change… Fellow study co-author Dr Philip Stephens, also in Durham University's Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, added: "We often think of climate as the major determinant of where animals live.

    "However, this study shows that the effects of species interactions could be more important than the predicted impacts of climate change." The study, funded by The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) also revealed that Chamois can alter their behaviour in the face of warmer temperatures, seeking shelter during hot periods rather than moving to higher altitudes. The researchers said that an ability to adjust their behaviours could make some species more adaptable to climate change than previously thought. However, they added that a better understanding of the costs of these behaviours was required.…..full story

     

    Tom H.E. Mason, Philip A. Stephens, Marco Apollonio, Stephen G. Willis. Predicting potential responses to future climate in an alpine ungulate: interspecific interactions exceed climate effects. Global Change Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12641

     

     

     

    New study improves measurements of the warming oceans

    Uncertainties in ocean measurements are crucial to our understanding of human-caused climate change

    John Abraham
    theguardian.com, Friday 20 June 2014 09.00 EDT

    Heating of the oceans is, pardon the pun, a hot subject. There is a broad recognition that the oceans, which absorb approximately 90% of excess greenhouse gas energy, are key not only to how fast the planet will warm, but also how hot it will get in the end. Many recent studies have tried to measure deeper ocean regions or previously uncharted areas in the search for heat. A new study by Lijing Cheng and Jiang Zhu takes a different approach. They ask how large are biases in the estimates of ocean heating from the finite resolution of the devices themselves. Their findings are exciting, but first, let's talk about the details of the study…. Decades ago, insulated buckets, then, bathythermograph devices, and now ARGO floats have been used. While these devices all go down into the ocean depths, they have different depth resolutions. Over the years, we have a large number of measurements near ocean's surfaces but as we measure deeper and deeper, fewer and fewer data points are available. As a result, we cannot construct exact temperature-depth curves. Consequently, our discrete data points give us some error, some bias compared to real ocean temperatures.

    In their paper, Lijing Cheng and Jiang Zhu quantify our ocean errors. They started with a "real" ocean temperature and then they extracted discrete data and asked themselves how their discrete data matched the original temperatures. By discrete data, I mean that they extracted temperatures every 10 meters, 20 meters, 30 meters, and so forth. Somewhat like the science of calculus where smooth curves are approximated by a series of straight-lined segments. What they found was very interesting. In the upper regions of the oceans, the discrete data was colder than the real ocean temperatures. However, deeper in the waters, the trend reversed and the discrete data was warmer. But to make things more complicated, the errors differed depending on location in the oceans. Near the equator (tropics), the discrete data exhibited a warm bias but further from the equator, the bias was cold. Furthermore, the extent of the error changed throughout the year….

     

     

    Understanding the ocean's role in Greenland glacier melt

    June 23, 2014
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    The Greenland Ice Sheet is a 1.7 million-square-kilometer, 2-mile thick layer of ice that covers Greenland. Its fate is inextricably linked to our global climate system. In the last 40 years, ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet increased four-fold contributing to one-quarter of global sea level rise. Some of the increased melting at the surface of the ice sheet is due to a warmer atmosphere, but the ocean's role in driving ice loss largely remains a mystery. Research by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Univ. of Oregon sheds new light on the connection between the ocean and Greenland's outlet glaciers, and provides important data for future estimates of how fast the ice sheet will melt and how much mass will be lost. The study was published today in Nature Geosciences. … From their analysis of the data, the researchers found rapid fluctuations in ocean temperature near the glaciers, resulting from "surprisingly" fast ocean currents in the fjords. The fjord currents, which reverse every few days, are driven by winds and ocean currents outside the fjord. These findings imply that changes in temperature in the ocean waters outside the fjord can be rapidly communicated to the glacier, through an efficient pumping of new water into the fjord. "We see much more variability in the upper fjord than we would have expected," Jackson said. "Our findings go against the prevailing paradigm that focused on the input of freshwater to the fjord as a driver of new water into the fjord."

    Rebecca H. Jackson, Fiammetta Straneo, David A. Sutherland. Externally forced fluctuations in ocean temperature at Greenland glaciers in non-summer months. Nature Geoscience, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2186

     

    Regional weather extremes linked to atmospheric variations

    Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

    Variations in high-altitude wind patterns expose particular parts of Europe, Asia and the US to different extreme weather conditions, a new study has shown. Changes to air flow patterns around the Northern Hemisphere are a major influence on prolonged bouts of unseasonal weather -- whether it be hot, cold, wet or dry…. Dr James Screen, a Mathematics Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and lead author of the study, said: "The impacts of large and slow moving atmospheric waves are different in different places. In some places amplified waves increase the chance of unusually hot conditions, and in others the risk of cold, wet or dry conditions." The study showed that larger waves can lead to droughts in central North America, Europe and central Asia, and western Asia exposed to prolonged wet spells. It also shows western North America and central Asia are more prone to heat waves, while eastern North America is more likely to experience prolonged outbreaks of cold….

     

    James A. Screen, Ian Simmonds. Amplified mid-latitude planetary waves favour particular regional weather extremes. Nature Climate Change, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2271

     

    How a Wavy Jet Stream Fuels Cold, Hot Weather Extremes

    Brian Kahn, Climate Central Published: Jun 23, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT weather.com

    Animation of the jet stream as it moves over North America, illustrating its troughs and ridges. (NASA)

    The pattern of a wavy jet stream was a recurring theme in U.S. weather forecasts this winter as a particularly jagged one essentially split the country in two. While there is a debate over whether climate change causes that pattern, new research shows that the waviness does exacerbate extreme weather. The research, published in Nature Climate Change on Sunday, looked at planetary waves on a monthly timescale.
    Waves are essentially the ridges and troughs left as the jet stream, a fast-moving river of air, cuts it way across the middle of the northern hemisphere. The jet stream essentially helps drive weather patterns around the northern half of the globe by pushing around storm systems and sometimes impeding their progress. James Screen, a climate scientist at the University of Exeter who co-authored the study, said he wanted to examine how planetary waves influenced persistent weather patterns, such as drought or extreme heat or cold. He examined the timeframe from 1979-2010, looking for 40 months that exhibited the most extreme precipitation, and for 40 months that showed the most extreme temperature departures from the norm. And the data showed that more wavy waves overwhelmingly accompanied months with temperature or precipitation extremes. Only a small percentage of months with extreme weather corresponded with a more relaxed series of waves…..

    ….Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Corporation for Atmospheric Research, said the study quantified a fairly well known pattern, though one he said climate scientists often take for granted. Climate researchers have started to look at these waves more closely, from how to use them to predict heat waves to how climate change could alter them. commentary in Science last month argued that climate change was at least in part to blame for the pattern that set up over the U.S. this past winter by making waves more common. That commentary is based on research published in 2012 that made the case for why rapid Arctic warming is increasing the odds of wilder planetary waves. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as areas around the equator because of unique feedbacks involving ice cover in the region. The research argues that as the temperature gradient between the poles and the equator decreases, planetary waves are getting out of whack and becoming even more extreme, though other research has challenged those findings…..Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Rutgers University who proposed the hypothesis, said there's a ways to go toward understanding how climate change could affect planetary waves, and the meanderings of the jet stream. "This is a complicated problem, and finding answers is further challenged by the short time period over which those regional temperature changes have emerged as clear signals from the highly variable atmosphere," she said in an email. "New approaches to this question are underway, however, and I'm confident that a clearer picture will come to light in the next few years." Francis also stressed that understanding waves is just one component of understanding the larger category of extreme weather. Natural fluctuations in ocean temperatures, such as El Niño, and human-caused deforestation and air pollution, can all have an impact. Smaller fluctuations in the atmosphere can also lead to sudden, shorter-scale extreme events. Trenberth said that putting aside the impact climate change could have on waves, it can also alter the water cycle because a warmer atmosphere can hold more water, increasing the odds of heavy precipitation and extreme dryness.

     

    Animation of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Credit: NOAA.

    Atmosphere May Be Getting in Gear for El Niño

    June 20th, 2014 By Andrea Thompson climatecentral.org

    The atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean may be getting its act together and finally cooperating with shifting ocean waters to signal that an El Niño has arrived, climate scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in their latest outlook. El Niño watchers have been waiting for the climate phenomenon to show up since an El Niño Watch was issued back in March, meaning that conditions were favorable for one to develop in the next six months. Potential El Niño events are so closely watched because of the influence they can have on the world's weather. Depending on when this El Niño develops, it could also bump up Earth's already warming temperature enough to make 2014 or 2015 a record warm year, scientists have said…..

     


    The Midwest Receives Two Months Of Rainfall In One Week

    By Katie Valentine on June 23, 2014

    The Twin Cities have set records for the wettest year so far since 1871 and one of the wettest Junes ever recorded.

    This concrete post was driven to bedrock in 1924 in the Everglades by University of Florida staff. The soil has subsided more than 6 feet in 90 years. Luckily, the rate of soil loss has been cut in 1/2 due to best management practices.

    Where has all the soil gone? Focusing on soil loss important to researchers

    Posted: 18 Jun 2014 01:39 PM PDT

    During these times of high drought and potential dust storms (or torrential rain and flash flooding), focusing on soil loss is important. Soil erosion is expensive. It costs the United States about $44 billion per year. Preventing erosion means taking care of the soil. That means protecting it with mulch and plants, not plowing on steep slopes, and maximizing the amount of water that enters the soil while minimizing the water that runs over the soil

     

    There may be a bright side to glacier melt

    Release of iron into the ocean may fertilise phytoplankton that can trap carbon dioxide

    By Philip Dooley June 27, 2014

    A melting glacier in Scoresby Sound, Greenland. New findings suggest they may be fertilising the ocean. CREDIT: MINT IMAGES/FRANS LANTING/GETTY IMAGES

    One of the alarming harbingers of global warming has been the melting of glaciers, but it turns out that there may be a silver lining, albeit a small one. The glaciers are releasing iron into the ocean and fertilising microscopic single-celled marine plants known as phytoplankton. Geoengineers have long suggested adding iron to the ocean to fertilise plankton. It seems nature is doing it on its own. Jon Hawkings from Bristol University in the UK led the team studying the melt waters that pool beneath west Greenland's glaciers and found them rich in iron. The researchers calculated the total amount of iron entering the world's oceans this way would average around a million tonnes per year – the weight of 125 Eiffel Towers. Iron is the fourth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and plenty accumulates in glaciers as they gouge their way across the landscape. Nevertheless iron is very scarce in the oceans as it reacts with oxygen to form iron oxides. Once fully oxidised, it forms insoluble crystals that sink to the bottom of the ocean, leaving the phytoplankton hungry. However, the iron in the glacial melt water has a different story, says Hawkings. "We think the isolated environment under the glaciers might have no oxygen, it's all been used up by chemical reactions." The result is that iron carried into the sea is only partially oxidised, in a form that phytoplankton can access. Once out in the ocean the iron begins to oxidise further, but not so fast that the phytoplankton can't snack on some first. This surge of nutrients enables them to multiply exponentially, in the process trapping large amounts of carbon dioxide. As the phytoplankton die they carry some of that carbon down to the ocean floor, where it remains. The discovery that the glacial melt water trickling into the ocean carries bioavailable iron solves a previous puzzle. "You can observe large algal blooms in satellite images, sometimes stretching for hundreds of kilometres. People have struggled to explain why they're there," says Hawkings, whose research was published in Nature Communications in May. The iron provides the explanation….

     

     

     

    What does climate change mean for sea turtles?

    Graeme Hays Professor of Marine Science at Deakin University June 23 2014

    Is climate change good or bad news for sea turtles? djblock99/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

    You might have seen in recent news that climate change may increase the size of some sea turtle populations, by increasing the number of female turtles. These studies hinge on an unusual trait of sea turtles: their sex is determined by the temperature in the nest. Turtle eggs incubated above 29C produce mostly females, while temperatures under 29C produce mostly males. Our recent study published in Nature Climate Change found that by altering the sex ratio of turtle populations in favour of females, climate change could lead to a population increase in the short term. But this isn't the whole story….

     

     

    Humans have been changing Chinese environment for 3,000 years: Ancient levee system set stage for massive, dynasty-toppling floods

    Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:50 AM PDT

    A widespread pattern of human-caused environmental degradation and related flood-mitigation efforts began changing the natural flow of China's Yellow River nearly 3,000 years ago, setting the stage for massive floods that toppled the Western Han Dynasty, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

     

     

    Words Matter When Talking Global Warming: The 'Good Anthropocene' Debate

    By Joe Romm June 19, 2014 at 10:24 am Updated: June 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    We spend more of our waking hours communicating than perhaps any other single activity. And while the principles of effective writing and speaking have been understood for centuries if not millennia, they are largely ignored today — sometimes intentionally, as Orwell pointed out nearly seven decades ago. ….. I've been thinking about all this because I was on two recent science communications panels: a "Science & Policy Communications Workshop" this week for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and a Communications Workshop at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Summer Policy Colloquium last week. Everything I know on the subject can be found in my 2012 book, "Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln and Lady Gaga." For those who want the pithy version, start with the great 20th Century essayist, Orwell, in his greatest essay, "Politics And The English Language" — and the great 20th Century orator, Winston Churchill, in his essay metaphorically titled, "The Scaffolding of Rhetoric." Orwell offers six simple rules for writing with clarity, "rules that one can rely on when instinct fails," when you are "in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase":

    • Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
    • Never use a long word where a short one will do.
    • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
    • Never use the passive where you can use the active.
    • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
    • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

    What's interesting is that in his essay, Churchill says some very similar things even though he is focused on oratory. "There is no more important element in the technique of rhetoric than the continual employment of the best possible word," he argues. "Whatever part of speech it is it must in each case absolutely express the full meaning of the speaker. It will leave no room for alternatives." So clarity is king, just as it is for Orwell. Churchill then takes on a very common myth about rhetoric… [read on for an excellent essay conclusion!]…


    An externally-valid approach to consensus messaging [on climate change]

    Posted on 21 June 2014 by John Cook skepticalscience.com

    Earlier this week, Dan Kahan published a blog post questioning the value of consensus messaging. He generously allowed me to publish a guest post, An “externally-valid” approach to consensus messaging, responding to his issues. For starters, I examine Dan’s idea that the consensus gap (the gap between public perception and the 97% consensus) is due to cultural cognition. I point out that there is a consensus gap even among liberals:

    • A 2012 Pew surveys of the general public found that even among liberals, there is low perception of the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. When Democrats are asked “Do scientists agree earth is getting warmer because of human activity?”, only 58% said yes. There’s a significant “consensus gap” even for those whose cultural values predispose them towards accepting the scientific consensus. A “liberal consensus gap”.
    • My own data, measuring climate perceptions amongst US representative samples, confirms the liberal consensus gap. The figure below shows what people said in 2013 when asked how many climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming. The x-axis is a measure of political ideology (specifically, support for free markets). For people on the political right (e.g., more politically conservative), perception of scientific consensus decreases, just as cultural cognition predicts. However, the most relevant feature for this discussion is the perceived consensus on the left…..

     

    Mediterranean region struggles with warming, acidification and jellyfish blooms
    ClimateWire June 27, 2014


    Loss of tourism as a result of degradation to marine ecosystems, such as local jellyfish blooms, was one of the 10 top problems in the Mediterranean announced this month at a conference highlighting the conclusions of a study funded by the European Commission on the health of the sea.

     

     

    DROUGHT:

     

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

     

    Satellite data provides picture of underground water

    Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 AM PDT

    Scientists demonstrate that satellite-collected data can accurately measure aquifer levels, a finding with potentially huge implications for management of precious global water sources. Superman isn’t the only one who can see through solid surfaces. In a development that could revolutionize the management of precious groundwater around the world, Stanford researchers have pioneered the use of satellites to accurately measure levels of water stored hundreds of feet below ground. Their findings were published recently in Water Resources Research. Groundwater provides 25 to 40 percent of all drinking water worldwide, and is the primary source of freshwater in many arid countries, according to the National Groundwater Association. About 60 percent of all withdrawn groundwater goes to crop irrigation. In the United States, the number is closer to 70 percent. In much of the world, however, underground reservoirs or aquifers are poorly managed and rapidly depleted due to a lack of water-level data. Developing useful groundwater models, availability predictions and water budgets is very challenging. Study co-author Rosemary Knight, a professor of geophysics and senior fellow, by courtesy, at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, compared groundwater use to a mismanaged bank account: “It’s like me saying I’m going to retire and live off my savings without knowing how much is in the account.” Lead author Jessica Reeves, a postdoctoral scholar in geophysics, extended Knight’s analogy to the connection among farmers who depend on the same groundwater source. “Imagine your account was connected to someone else’s account, and they were withdrawing from it without your knowing.“….

     

    Jessica A. Reeves, Rosemary Knight, Howard A. Zebker, Peter K. Kitanidis, Willem A. Schreüder. Estimating temporal changes in hydraulic head using InSAR data in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Water Resources Research, 2014; 50 (5): 4459 DOI: 10.1002/2013WR014938

     

    Water war bubbling up between California and Arizona

    Michael Hiltzik
    June 20, 2014 LA Times

    Low water levels are plainly visible on Lake Mead, which is fed by the Colorado River. (Michael Robinson Chavez / LA Times)

    Once upon a time, California and Arizona went to war over water. The year was 1934, and Arizona was convinced that the construction of Parker Dam on the lower Colorado River was merely a plot to enable California to steal its water rights. Its governor, Benjamin Moeur, dispatched a squad of National Guardsmen up the river to secure the eastern bank from the decks of the ferryboat Julia B. — derisively dubbed “Arizona’s navy” by a Times war correspondent assigned to cover the skirmish. After the federal government imposed a truce, the guardsmen returned home as “conquering heroes.”

    The next water war between California and Arizona won’t be such an amusing little affair. And it’s coming soon.

    Nineteenth-century water law is meeting 20th-century infrastructure and 21st century climate change, and it leads to a nonsensical outcome.
    - Bradley Udall, a senior fellow at the University of Colorado Law School. The issue still is the Colorado River. Overconsumption and climate change have placed the river in long-term decline. It’s never provided the bounty that was expected in 1922, when the initial allocations among the seven states of the Colorado River basin were penciled out as part of the landmark Colorado River Compact, which enabled Hoover Dam to be built, and the shortfall is growing. The signs of decline are impossible to miss. One is the wide white bathtub ring around Lake Mead, the reservoir behind Hoover Dam, showing the difference between its maximum level and today’s. Lake Mead is currently at 40% of capacity, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam. At 1084.63 feet on Wednesday, it’s a couple of feet above its lowest water level since it began filling in 1935. But the rules governing appropriations from the river are unforgiving and don’t provide for much shared sacrifice among the states, or among farmers and city dwellers. The developing crisis can’t be caricatured as farmers versus fish, as it is by Central Valley growers irked at environmental diversions of water into the region’s streams. It can’t be addressed by building more dams, because reservoirs can’t be filled with water that doesn’t come. And it can’t be addressed by technological solutions such as desalination, which can provide only marginal supplies of fresh water, and then only at enormous expense….

     

    Sudden oak death drying up with drought

    Peter Fimrite SF Chronicle Updated 10:45 pm, Sunday, June 22, 2014

    The California drought is helping save the state’s signature tree – the mighty oak – by slowing down the spread of the plague-like disease scientists call sudden oak death. The exceptionally dry conditions have drastically reduced the number of contagious spores that have killed hundreds of thousands of oak trees and raised havoc among tree lovers and scientists. Preliminary results of surveys taken between April 4 and June 5 this year show an infection rate of between 2 and 10 percent of California bay laurel trees tested in 17 western counties between Fort Bragg and San Luis Obispo. That’s compared with between 20 and 80 percent during a normal year when rainfall is abundant. Pinpointing infected bay laurels is the key to fighting the tree-strangling pathogen because bays are the waylay point for the miscreant microbes before they do their dirty work on oaks. The findings are significant because scientists had predicted that sudden oak death, discovered in Mill Valley in 1995, would kill 90 percent of California’s oaks within 20 years. The drought is giving scientists battling the microscopic malefactor a fighting chance like they’ve never had before…..

     

     

    California Drought: Snowmelt’s path shows impact from Sierra to Pacific- SPECIAL REPORT with VIDEOS

    By Lisa Krieger San Jose Mercury News Posted:   06/21/2014 03:56:24 PM PDT

    When a single snowflake falls peacefully atop a Sierra peak, it begins a turbulent journey to help quench the thirst of a drought-stricken state. In most years, Sierra snow provides a third of California’s water supply. But it is by far the least reliable portion — and now, after three years of historically low snowfall, tensions are soaring over how we share the shrinking bounty of this great frozen reservoir. Today, on the cusp of a long, dry summer, we follow the melting snow — and meet its dependents — along one of its many routes from remote peaks to thriving communities around the Golden State. As our snowmelt travels the 300-mile path from Yosemite’s Mount Dana to the sea, it meanders through the Tuolumne River watershed, past hydropower plants and nurseries, wildlife refuges and chemical plants, vineyards and the San Francisco Bay Area, where it provides water for millions of people…..

    ….The water in Don Pedro Lake was promised long ago to entrepreneurial farmers who built the dam and created the Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts. About half of the 1.7 million acre feet of water captured by the Tuolumne River watershed goes to their farms. San Francisco’s PUC gets about 12 percent, and the rest goes downriver.

    In California, we don’t own water. Rather, we just have the right to use it. These mighty districts — whose canals extend for more than 400 miles — sit atop the Tuolumne River’s human pecking order because they made their claim in 1887, under a water rights system that emerged with the early settlement of California known as “first in time, first in right.” Their access to water trumps San Francisco’s. But they rank below the rights of wildlife, which are protected by federal law — a major source of conflict in the region’s age-old fight for water…..    

    Who has water rights? How much water is allotted to each user? To find, go to this interactive map, produced by the New California Water Atlas: http://projects-ca.statewater.org/water-rights.

    • There is a pecking order to these rights, regulated by the State Water Board, which determines who can take water when there’s not enough to go around.
    • Riparian rights: The oldest and most senior of rights, dating back to English common law, given to owners of waterfront property, who must share water with other waterfront owners.
    • Appropriative “senior” rights: Next in line, these are given to users who aren’t connected to waterfront property but who made a claim on a river, stream or lake before 1914 under a long-held Western tradition of “first in time, first in right.” Not subject to permit or license.
    • Appropriative junior” rights: Given to users who aren’t connected to waterfront property and filed after 1914. Must obtain permit and license from state.

     


    California’s record-warmest year worsens exceptional drought; El Niño continues to develop in Pacific


    Filed in Uncategorized by Daniel Swain on June 22, 2014 • CA Weather Blog http://www.weatherwest.com/archives/1569

    The past couple of weeks have been warm and dry across nearly the entire state.

    Persistent high pressure and geopotential height ridging have continued across the North Pacific in recent weeks. (NOAA/ESRL) While no widespread major heat waves occurred, certain regions (particularly in the Sacramento Valley) did set new daily record highs on a couple of occasions since my last post, and most other regions have averaged at least several degrees above normal for this time of year. “June gloom”–or the marine stratus and low clouds that are typically prevalent near the California coastline during early summer–has been less extensive than usual so far this summer. On a possibly related note, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are warmer than normal along the coast of Southern California (by as much as +3-4 F)…. California’s exceptional drought continues to make national and international headlines, and for good reason. 2014 has been (and remains) California’s warmest year to date in at least 118 years of record-keeping (and this follows the superlative warmest winter on record in 2013-2014). While the Water Year totals are not year in, 2013-2014 is destined to be among the top 3 driest Water Years on record, and this follows the all-time driest calendar year on record (by far) in 2013. Parallels have increasingly been drawn between the current event and both the much-remembered mid-1970s drought and the less-remembered but perhaps even more intense 1930s drought (which was associated with a much broader event across much of North America, including the devastating Dust Bowl conditions in the Great Plains). Given the fact that conditions during the present event are occurring in the broader context of record-warm temperatures–with associated record-high evaporation and soil/vegetation dryness–by some measures the hydrological intensity of the current drought is exceeding that of any recorded historical drought in California. And it’s also worth keeping in mind that we don’t yet know when the current drought will end: as many have noted, even a wetter-than-normal winter in 2014-2015 would almost certainly not be able to erase the phenomenal water deficits that currently exist around the state…..

     

     

     

     

     

     

    US mayors give unanimous nod for cities to use nature to fight climate change effects

    Ernest Moniz, right, secretary, United States Department of Energy, discusses climate protection with Gina McCarthy, ledt, United States Environmental Protection Agency, and David Agnew at the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, on June 22, 2014. Attendees of the U.S. Conference of Mayors voted Sunday to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in Dallas, on Sunday, June 22, 2014. The resolution encourages cities to use natural solutions to “protect freshwater supplies, defend the nation’s coastlines, maintain a healthy tree cover and protect air quality,” sometimes by partnering with nonprofit organizations. The resolution only “encourages” steps rather than mandating action. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Michael Ainsworth)

    By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press June 23, 2014 | HOUSTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of mayors from across the country unanimously approved a resolution Monday that calls on cities to use natural solutions to fight the effects of climate change. Attendees of the U.S. Conference of Mayors voted in Dallas on the resolution that encourages cities to use nature to “protect freshwater supplies, defend the nation’s coastlines, maintain a healthy tree and green space cover and protect air quality,” sometimes by partnering with nonprofit organizations. The resolution was backed by mayors from GOP-dominated states — Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. It passed easily even though Republicans and Democrats remain deeply divided over how to deal with climate change. Although science shows human industrial activity is contributing to global warming, some conservatives remain skeptical. “What’s so significant is that there was a unanimous vote on an issue that can be so divisive,” said Laura Huffman, director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas. “When you peel away the high-level arguments and deal with the ground-level issues everyone just rolls up their sleeves and gets to work.” Mayors are looking for alternatives to traditional infrastructure projects that will be cost-effective and provide residents with amenities….

     

     

    Scientists create new battery that’s cheap, clean, rechargeable … and organic

    Posted: 25 Jun 2014 10:26 AM PDT

    Scientists have developed a rechargeable battery that is all organic and could be scaled up easily for use in power plants where it can make the energy grid more resilient and efficient by creating a large-scale means to store energy for use as needed. The batteries could pave the way for renewable energy sources to make up a greater share of the nation’s energy generation.

     

     

    A Slimmer Meal Tray Will Save Virgin Atlantic Millions Of Gallons Of Fuel

    June 26, 2014

    This design story is a typical example of how complex it can be to make a seemingly simple change–but why they can be necessary. When it’s fully loaded and ready to fly, a 747 jet can weigh as much as 400 metric tons, and airlines obsess over shaving off every possible ounce of weight. Losing even a single pound can save around 14,000 gallons of fuel in a year. Some carriers put in lighter seats and even lighter seatbelts, some strip paint off the outside of the jet (paint alone can weigh hundreds of pounds), and last year, one airline started charging passengers a fat tax. Now, by tweaking the design of meal trays, Virgin Atlantic has lightened the load of their flights by nearly 300 pounds each, enough to save millions of dollars in fuel costs and trim carbon emissions.

     

     

    Longer flights ‘could curb impact of vapour trails’

    By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News June 18, 2014

    Contrails are believed to have a significant impact on global warming

    Large condensation trails in the sky caused by aircraft could be eliminated by re-routing flight paths, say scientists. Researchers are concerned about the climate change potential of these wispy, man-made clouds. But a new study suggests that making changes to existing flight routes could curb their warming impact. Avoiding a major contrail on a flight to New York from London would only add 22km to the journey, experts say. Because of the way the Earth curves you can actually have quite small extra distances added onto the flight to avoid some really large contrails…Contrails are formed when planes fly through very cold, moist air and the exhausts from their engines condense into a visible vapour. …

     

    Re-routing flights could reduce climate impact, research suggests

    Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 PM PDT

    Aircraft can become more environmentally friendly by choosing flight paths that reduce the formation of their distinctive condensation trails, new research suggests

     

     

     

    Can the Port Authority Save the Planet?

    By TED STEINBERG NY Times Op Ed June 16, 2014

    THIS has been a bad year for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, with scandals over a bridge closure and, most recently, a shady real estate deal. But the authority has a chance at redemption, if it is willing to move beyond its traditional mandate. Its model of interstate cooperation could do much more than prevent traffic jams; it could also play the leading role in managing the ecological health of the Hudson River estuary, and serve as an example for other coastal cities around the world facing complex environmental problems in a time of climate change. Estuaries exist where ocean tide meets freshwater from an incoming river. The nutrient-rich environment underwrites an enormous food supply that supports dense animal populations, from seals to frogs to wading birds. They have also long been attractive sites for urban development because of their prolific supply of natural resources, access to navigable water and capacity to absorb the waste produced by masses of people. During the last two centuries, urbanization has increasingly horned in on this territory. In 1800, a little more than 40 percent of the 25 largest cities in the world were situated along estuaries. Today, close to 70 percent of the planet’s largest cities are found there. One of the main ecological impacts has been eutrophication: a decline in water quality caused by an excess of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Often, those nutrients come from synthetic fertilizer, but the human waste discharged from cities, especially developing ones, remains an important factor. In the past, those nutrients found their way back to the land. Even today in the East Kolkata wetlands of India, sewage is recycled into vegetable patches and fish farms. But this kind of “closed-loop” system is rare in modern cities wedded to real estate development rather than agriculture. Instead, nutrients are gushing into estuaries and resulting in harmful algal blooms that rob the water of oxygen, degrade marine habitat and limit the diversity of aquatic life….

     

     

    Cubans find preparing for climate change hard, expensive and essential

    Environment & Energy Publishing 

     - ‎Jun 16, 2014‎ 

           

    Cuba has a long history of climate adaptation measures, even if they weren’t originally conceived as such. For one, the country has a highly organized disaster prevention and management system, called Civil Defense, designed to protect lives in case of …

     

     

     

     

     

    Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming

    By JUSTIN GILLISJUNE 24, 2014

    More than a million homes and businesses along the nation’s coasts could flood repeatedly before ultimately being destroyed. Entire states in the Southeast and the Corn Belt may lose much of their agriculture as farming shifts northward in a warming world. Heat and humidity will probably grow so intense that spending time outside will become physically dangerous, throwing industries like construction and tourism into turmoil. That is a picture of what may happen to the United States economy in a world of unchecked global warming, according to a major new report released Tuesday by a coalition of senior political and economic figures from the left, right and center, including three Treasury secretaries stretching back to the Nixon administration. At a time when the issue of climate change has divided the American political landscape, pitting Republicans against Democrats and even fellow party members against one another, the unusual bipartisan alliance of political veterans said that the country — and business leaders in particular — must wake up to the enormous scale of the economic risk. “The big ice sheets are melting; something’s happening,” George P. Shultz, who was Treasury secretary under President Richard M. Nixon and secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. He noted that he had grown concerned enough about global warming to put solar panels on his own California roof and to buy an electric car. “I say we should take out an insurance policy….

     

     

    Climate Campaign Can’t Be Deaf to Economic Worries, Obama Warns

    By CORAL DAVENPORT NY Times JUNE 26, 2014

    WASHINGTON — President Obama acknowledged Wednesday that his efforts to combat climate change — in particular, Environmental Protection Agency regulations to slash carbon pollution from cars and coal-fired power plants — could raise fuel and electricity prices. And he told environmental advocates that in order to make a credible case for such climate policies, officials would need to acknowledge Americans’ worries about the economic effects. “People don’t like gas prices going up; they are concerned about electricity prices going up,” Mr. Obama said in a speech at an annual dinner for the League of Conservation Voters.
    “If we’re blithe about saying, ‘This is the crisis of our time,’ but we don’t acknowledge these legitimate concerns — we’ve got to shape our strategies to address the very real and legitimate concerns of working families.” Climate change remains among the few policy items he can push through without action from Congress, and the issue is likely to define the remainder of his time in office…..

     

    Barack Obama becomes mocker-in-chief on climate change skeptics.
    President Barack Obama is letting his inner Don Rickles run free, mocking climate deniers as the crowd who used to think the moon was made out of cheese or spineless dopes who can’t or won’t listen to science even though the science is all overwhelmingly pointing in one direction. Politico

     

    Supreme Court Reaffirms EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Authority, With Minor Limitation

    By Ari Phillips on June 23, 2014

    On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had narrowly exceeded its reach under the Clean Air Act in its permitting program to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

     

     

    Democrats use climate change as wedge issue on Republicans

    By Carolyn Lochhead SF Chronicle June 22, 2014

    Washington — When President Obama stood before students in Southern California a week ago ridiculing those who deny climate science, he wasn’t just road testing a new political strategy to a friendly audience. …

     

    Environmentalists sign off on Bay Area growth plan

    Bob Egelko Published 11:50 am, Saturday, June 21, 2014

    (06-21) 11:48 PDT Oakland — Regional agencies that adopted a plan last year to guide Bay Area land use and transportation through 2040 have agreed with environmentalists to study and explain how they would promote public transit and limit greenhouse gases while building more highways. The agreement settled a lawsuit by Communities for a Better Environment and the Sierra Club, who argued that Plan Bay Area would increase climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions and displace low-income communities. The plan also is under a separate legal attack by pro-development forces who claim it is heavy-handed and unnecessary. That lawsuit is before an Alameda County Superior Court judge. Plan Bay Area, approved last July by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, sets guideposts for a 27-year period in which the nine-county population is projected to increase from 7 million to nearly 9 million. It is not legally binding, but designates areas eligible for state funding to encourage housing and jobs in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods near transit lines in order to keep development compact, reduce vehicle use and preserve open space. The agencies have approved 170 “priority development areas,” 100 acres or larger, nominated by local governments….

     

     

    The Coming Climate Crash: Lessons for Climate Change in the 2008 Recession

    By HENRY M. PAULSON Jr. Op-Ed NY Times JUNE 21, 2014

    Carbon dioxide emissions like those from coal-fired power plants should be taxed to spur energy innovation. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

    THERE is a time for weighing evidence and a time for acting. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my work in finance, government and conservation, it is to act before problems become too big to manage. For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation’s financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do. We’re making the same mistake today with climate change. We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked…..But we must not lose sight of the profound economic risks of doing nothing. The solution can be a fundamentally conservative one that will empower the marketplace to find the most efficient response. We can do this by putting a price on emissions of carbon dioxide — a carbon tax. Few in the United States now pay to emit this potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere we all share. Putting a price on emissions will create incentives to develop new, cleaner energy technologies…..

    two separate studies discovered that one of the biggest thresholds has already been reached. The West Antarctic ice sheet has begun to melt, a process that scientists estimate may take centuries but that could eventually raise sea levels by as much as 14 feet. Now that this process has begun, there is nothing we can do to undo the underlying dynamics, which scientists say are “baked in.” And 10 years from now, will other thresholds be crossed that scientists are only now contemplating? It is true that there is uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of these risks and many others. But those who claim the science is unsettled or action is too costly are simply trying to ignore the problem. We must see the bigger picture. The nature of a crisis is its unpredictability. And as we all witnessed during the financial crisis, a chain reaction of cascading failures ensued from one intertwined part of the system to the next. It’s easy to see a single part in motion. It’s not so easy to calculate the resulting domino effect. That sort of contagion nearly took down the global financial system. With that experience indelibly affecting my perspective, viewing climate change in terms of risk assessment and risk management makes clear to me that taking a cautiously conservative stance — that is, waiting for more information before acting — is actually taking a very radical risk. We’ll never know enough to resolve all of the uncertainties. But we know enough to recognize that we must act now. I’m a businessman, not a climatologist. But I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with climate scientists and economists who have devoted their careers to this issue. There is virtually no debate among them that the planet is warming and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible.

    Farseeing business leaders are already involved in this issue. It’s time for more to weigh in. To add reliable financial data to the science, I’ve joined with the former mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg, and the retired hedge fund manager Tom Steyer on an economic analysis of the costs of inaction across key regions and economic sectors. Our goal for the Risky Business project — starting with a new study that will be released this week — is to influence business and investor decision making worldwide.

     

    Former Bush Treasury Secretary: We Can Prevent A ‘Climate Crash’ With A Carbon Tax

    By Joe Romm on June 22, 2014

    Bush’s former Treasury Secretary lays out our choice. Take on the “climate bubble” now and unleash the power of innovation to spur the next industrial revolution. Or keep ignoring science and face an irreversible “carbon crash” more devastating than the recent economic crash…..

     

     

    Risky Business team spreads out in D.C. to spread word on climate costs

    Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter ClimateWire: Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    The high-profile team behind the “Risky Business” report on the economic costs of climate change fans out in Washington, D.C., today, spreading its message about what it sees as a looming crisis. Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer and other members of the project’s Risk Committee will review report findings with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and “senior White House leadership,” the Obama administration said. The group will learn this morning whether President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden will visit that meeting, said Matt Lewis, Risky Business’ communications director. Gregory Page, former CEO and current chairman of the board of Cargill Inc. and part of the Risk Committee, planned to confer with U.S. senators and House members. Lewis did not know which lawmakers Page planned to visit. Page also is slated to meet with American Farm Bureau Federation and Corn Growers Association members. Risk Committee member Henry Cisneros, President Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, planned to talk with Mortgage Bankers Association members. It’s part of a press that will continue this summer, as team members attend business group conferences in several states, Lewis said. Risky Business members “just don’t feel like the business and financial community have got this on their radar,” Lewis said, referencing climate change financial risks. “We want to make sure that the folks who should have this on their radar have this on their radar. That’s our main objective.”….

     

     

    Maybe those EPA rules aren’t quite such a big deal.
    The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule about carbon pollution from power plants isn’t that stringent. That’s why major environmental groups, though pleased to see the new rule, are quietly pushing the Administration to make it even stronger before it becomes final. The planet, they say, can’t wait for progress. New Republic

     

    Initiative for renewable power in S.F. is stalling

    John Coté and Marisa Lagos Monday, June 23, 2014 SF Chronicle

    In his first month in office, Mayor Ed Lee assembled a team of energy experts to help San Francisco meet its ambitious goal of having all electricity in the city come from renewable sources by the end of 2020. But over the past year, Lee has overseen the evisceration of a renewable power program that clean-energy advocates, analysts and that task force say is critical to San Francisco meeting its goal. ….

     

     

     

     

     

    Oklahoma Has Had More Earthquakes Than California This Year and Drilling Might Be to Blame

    By Ben Mathis-Lilley slate.com June 23, 2014

    ….Between 1978 and 2008, Oklahoma experienced an average of just two quakes of 3.0 magnitude of greater. In 2014, as of Thursday, there have been about 207 such quakes recorded in the state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The upward trend started in 2009, with 20 quakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater, then 43 the following year, and jumping every year with the exception of 2012.

    California has seen 140 3.0-plus quakes this year to Oklahoma’s 207. Why the sudden increase? Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey believe that the blame may lie with wells that discard wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations by pumping it deep underground: A report issued last year by the U.S. Geological Survey found that most of these new earthquakes have taken place near active injection wells. Geophysicist William Ellsworth, the lead author of the report, wrote that it is completely plausible that the high water pressure often used in wastewater injections could nudge previously dormant faults out of their “locked” positions. The quakes, he wrote, are “almost certainly manmade.” The practice is similar to “fracking,” though the goal of fracking is to release new oil and gas, not discard drilling byproducts. It doesn’t appear that anyone has been killed or seriously injured in any of the state’s recent quakes.

     


    Hormone-Disrupting Activity of Fracking Chemicals Worse Than Initially Found


    June 23, 2014 — Many chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can disrupt not only the human body’s reproductive hormones but also the glucocorticoid and thyroid hormone receptors, which are necessary … full story

     

    SunPower offers batteries to hold homes’ solar power until night.
    SunPower Corp., the second-largest U.S. solar manufacturer, is offering energy-storage systems to California homeowners that will power houses at night with electricity generated from sunlight during the day. Bloomberg News

     

    Concentrating solar power: Study shows greater potential

    Posted: 22 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

    Concentrating solar power could supply a large fraction of the power supply in a decarbonized energy system, shows a new study of the technology and its potential practical application.

     

    The Future Of Solar Technology Could Be As Thin And Flexible As A Piece Of Paper

    By Kiley Kroh June 23, 2014 at 10:49 am Updated: June 23, 2014 at 11:19 am

    OPV solar cells are produced in the R&D lab. Just recently, Heliatek set a new world record for OPV with a cell efficiency of 10.7%. CREDIT: Heliatek/Tom Baerwald

    Researchers in Denmark recently claimed a major breakthrough in the production of organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells. Unlike traditional silicon solar cells, used in rooftop solar panels and large-scale solar farms, OPVs use organic semiconductors — made from plastics and other flexible materials — and are much lighter, more flexible and less expensive. Because they use environmentally friendly materials and can be produced quickly with lower processing and materials costs, OPVs can be used in much more innovative ways, according to Jade Jones, Solar Analyst with GTM research. …

     

    Harley-Davidson Roars Into Future With First Electric Motorcycle

    By Ari Phillips on June 19, 2014

    The future of Harley-Davidson is not a menacing roar but an explosive whoosh….

     

    Winds of change for the shipping sector

    Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 PM PDT

    Wind propulsion such as kites and Flettner rotors could offer a viable route to help cut carbon dioxide emissions in the shipping sector, according to researchers….

     

     

     

     

     
     

    WEBINARS:

    Sea-level Rise Modeling Handbook: Resource Guide for Coastal Land Managers, Engineers, and Scientists

    Tuesday, July 1, 3:00 PM Eastern; NOON Pacific
    via WebEx (Register at 
    https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/webinar/332

    Thomas W. Doyle, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, Lafayette, LA, will present:

    Description: A sea-level rise modeling handbook has been developed as a natural resource manager’s guide of the science and simulation models for understanding the dynamics and impacts of sea-level rise on our coastal ecosystems.  This webinar introduces the layout and content of the handbook including various methods and models for understanding past and current sea-level change and predicting ecosystem impacts of rising sea level under future climate change.  Basic illustrations of the components of the Earth’s hydrosphere and effects of plate tectonics, planetary orbits, and glaciation are explained to understand the long-term cycles of historical sea-level rise and fall.  Discussion of proper interpretation of contemporary sea-level rates and trends from tide gauge stations and satellite altimetry missions will be presented to show their complementary aspects and value for understanding variability in eustasy and land motion for different coastal reaches of the U.S.  Examples of the different types and classes of hydrology and ecosystem models used to predict potential effects of future sea-level rise at local and regional scale applications will also be presented.  Coastal land managers, engineers, and scientists will benefit from this webinar and handbook illustrating tools and models that have been developed for projecting causes and consequences of sea-level change on the landscape and seascape.

    YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER TO JOIN THIS WEBINAR VIA WEBEX
    TO REGISTER, PLEASE VISIT HERE 

    THIS WEBINAR WILL BE RECORDED: approximately 1-2 weeks after the presentation is given- posted on the NCCWSC website: 

    UPCOMING NCCWSC WEBINARS-For the schedule of upcoming webinars

     

     

    UPCOMING CONFERENCES: 

    North America Congress for Conservation Biology Meeting. July 13-16, Missoula, MT. The biennial NACCB provides a forum for presenting and discussing new research and developments in conservation science and practice for addressing today’s conservation challenges.

    First Stewards
    July 21-23, Washington, DC.

    First Stewards will hold their 2nd annual symposium at the National Museum of the American Indian. This year’s theme is
    United Indigenous Voices Address Sustainability: Climate Change and Traditional Places

    99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
    Sacramento, California  August 10-15, 2014 
    http://www.esa.org/sacramento

     

    California Adaptation Forum 
    August 19-20, 2014
    . SACRAMENTO, CA

    This two-day forum will build off a successful National Adaptation Forum held in Colorado in 2013. The attendance of many California leaders there underscored the need for a California-focused event, which will be held every other year to complement the biennial national conference.  To register go to:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/886364449

    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.

     

    ***SAVE THE DATE!!***  Sponsored by the CA LCC and CA Dept. of Water Resources

    Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workshop September 23rd, 2014 @ California State University, Sacramento
     

    Registration will open in June 2014. Check the California LCC website for details: http://californialcc.org/

     

     

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

     

     

    Director, California Terrestrial Conservation Program, TNC Job ID 42252

    … a newly created position representing a unique opportunity to shape and lead a strategic vision for global conservation at the helm of the organization’s largest chapter. The Director will develop a compelling and unifying vision for terrestrial conservation in California, leading a team of approximately 30 employees throughout the state responsible for developing and implementing The Conservancy’s strategies to protect and restore priority terrestrial landscapes. The ideal candidate will be an experienced conservation leader with a proven ability to manage and inspire teams and significant experience developing and executing successful strategies in the environmental arena. The location is negotiable within California (San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles or San Diego). Applicants must apply on-line at www.nature.org/careers. To more easily locate the position, enter the job ID 42252 in the keyword search.

     

    Bird and marine mammal observers on board NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center research ships

    Watershed Stewards Program
    two full-time Americorps member positions for 2014-1015.

    The Watershed Stewards Program’s (WSP) mission is to conserve, restore, and enhance anadromous watersheds for future generations by linking education with high quality scientific practices.  A program of the California Conservation Corps, WSP is one of the most productive programs for future employment in natural resources Applications are due July 11. San Joaquin River Partnership’s Watershed Stewards members will be working with CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife on salmon recovery field work a good percentage of their time as well as habitat restoration, assisting with fishery biology elements of our school field trips, and community events. The San Joaquin River Partnership organizations will share mentor responsibilities for these Americorps members. WSP’s experience with their members is that the majority are placed with career positions as a result of their program participation. We’re very excited about the creation of a San Joaquin River unit of WSP and benefits for youth and our community and our expectation is that this unit will grow in subsequent years. Here is a short video about WSP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrTPyXmsRr4

     

     

     

     

    • OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

     

    Bjorn Lomborg Is Part Of The Koch Network — And Cashing In

    By Joe Romm on June 25, 2014

    DeSmogBlog has done the first comprehensive analysis of where Bjorn Lomborg’s money comes from. You’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that a guy who argues for inaction on climate change and pens pieces like “The Poor Need Cheap Fossil Fuels” is connected to the Kochtopus empire….

     

    Higgs Boson Confirms Reigning Physics Model Yet Again

    LiveScience.com

    June 23, 2014

     
     

    Written by

    Tia Ghose

     
           

    For a subatomic particle that remained hidden for nearly 50 years, the Higgs boson is turning out to be remarkably well behaved. Yet more evidence from the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, confirms that the …

     


    European Space Agency: Magnetic North wandering south toward Siberia


    Al Jazeera America

     - ‎June 23, 2014‎

           

    Earth’s North Magnetic Pole is drifting south toward Siberia at an accelerating rate, according to recent data from the European Space Agency (ESA), which also showed that the dynamic magnetic field that protects the planet from radiation has weakened.

     

    Conclusive evidence that sunscreen use in childhood prevents development of malignant melanoma in adults

    Posted: 19 Jun 2014 08:14 AM PDT

    Unequivocally, in a natural animal model, researchers have demonstrated that the incidence of malignant melanoma in adulthood can be dramatically reduced by the consistent use of sunscreen in infancy and childhood. The research was driven by the fact that, despite the increasing use of sunscreen in recent decades, the incidence of malignant melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, continues to increase dramatically. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 75,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.

     

    BPA Substitute as bad as BPA? Exposure to BPA substitute causes hyperactivity and brain changes in fish

    Posted: 23 Jun 2014 07:39 AM PDT A chemical found in many “BPA free” consumer products, known as bisphenol S (BPS), is just as potent as bisphenol A (BPA) in altering brain development and causing hyperactive behavior, an animal study finds.

     

    Association found between maternal exposure to agricultural pesticides and autism

    Posted: 23 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT    

    Pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where chemical pesticides were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay, a study by researchers has found. The study examined associations between specific classes of pesticides, including organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates, applied during the study participants’ pregnancies and later diagnoses of autism and developmental delay in their offspring.

     

    Watching too much TV may increase risk of early death: Three hours a day linked to premature death from any cause

    Posted: 25 Jun 2014 03:48 PM PDT

    Adults who watch TV three hours or more a day may double their risk of premature death from any cause. Researchers suggest adults should consider getting regular exercise, avoiding long sedentary periods and reducing TV viewing to one to two hours a day….

     

    Going vegetarian halves CO2 emissions from your food
    New Scientist June 26, 2014

    If you stop eating meat, your food-related carbon footprint could plummet to less than half of what it was. That is a much bigger drop than many previous estimates, and it comes from a study of people’s real diets….

    Journal reference: Climatic Change, DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1169-1

     

     

     

     


    Author and illustrator Katherine Roy paints a fabulous water color of the Farallones which will be the back page art of her upcoming children’s book on Farallon white sharks: NEIGHBORHOOD SHARKS: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands. This book will come out in the fall.

     

     

     

     


     


     


     

     

     


     


     

    CA BLM WILDLIFE TRIVIA ANSWER and Related Information

     

    In some areas, bears have become a problem. This is most often because:
    ANSWER: (d.) They find food in campsites or garbage cans.




    SOURCE: “Black Bear – Ursus americanus” (BLM California wildlife database)
    As they find food in urban areas they lose their fear of humans and could become quite aggressive. People who live in areas where bears are present should make their garbage cans bear-proof and keep their land clean. When camping, food should be stored in lockers that are specially designed to keep bears out. If the lockers aren’t available the food should be kept in the trunks of cars. http://ow.ly/yshkt

     

     

    ————

    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.

     

  6. California Drought—Some Solutions

    Leave a Comment

     

     

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

     

     

     

    New report from the Pacific Institute and the NRDC; Drought-stricken California could save up to 14 million acre-feet of water; enough to supply all the state’s cities annually

    by Maven From the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council:

    “California could be saving up to 14 million acre-feet of untapped water – providing more than the amount of water used in all of California’s cities in one year – with an aggressive statewide effort to use water-saving practices, reuse water, and capture lost stormwater, according to a new analysis released today by the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    “Our current approach to water use is unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough water to meet our needs,” said Kate Poole, NRDC senior attorney with the water program. “At a time when every drop counts, we need to employ sensible and cost-effective 21st century solutions that will help us reduce uses today while promising new, resilient supplies for cities and farms tomorrow.”

    “As climate change brings more extreme weather, including droughts, ramping up forward-thinking solutions now will help us be more resilient,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. “With widespread adoption of available water conservation and efficiency improvements, demand can be met more readily, less expensively, and with less pressure on our tapped-out rivers and groundwater basins. Moreover, water reuse and stormwater capture can help boost local supplies.” NRDC and the Pacific Institute’s issue brief, The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply, is a first-of-its-kind statewide analysis examining the significant potential contributions achievable from a combination of improved efficiency in agricultural and urban water use, water reuse and recycling, and increased capturing of local rainwater….

     

    Key findings and solutions from the new study include:

    • Agriculture uses about 80 percent of California’s developed water supply. Agricultural water users can develop more sustainable water use by expanding adoption of key modern irrigation technologies and practices, such as drip irrigation and precise irrigation scheduling. Some farmers are already employing these practices, which, extended, can reduce agricultural water use by 17 to 22 percent – or 5.6 to 6.6 million acre-feet of water annually. These savings are the equivalent to the surface water that Central Valley farms are lacking this year due to the drought.
    • Urban areas use about 20 percent of the state’s developed water supply, much of which is delivered from reservoirs hundreds of miles away at great ecological and energy cost. Improved efficiency, stormwater capture, and greater water reuse can together save a total of 5.2 to 7.1 million acre-feet of water per year, enough water to supply all of urban Southern California and have water remaining to help restore ecosystems and recharge aquifers. These approaches also cut energy use, boost local water reliability, and improve water quality in coastal regions.
    • In total, these 21st century water supply solutions can offer up to 14 million acre-feet in new supplies and demand reductions per year, more water than is used in all of California’s cities in a year. These savings would provide enough water to serve 20 cities the size of Los Angeles, every year.

    “While there’s no silver bullet to solving this water crisis, efficiency, reuse, and stormwater provide a tremendous water-saving blueprint we can realize if we take collaborative action now, backed by government and community leadership,” said Poole. “This is a critical moment for all water users to step up and implement robust solutions that will make a lasting difference.” “We know that traditional water solutions have failed to solve California’s water problems,” said Gleick. “The good news is that there are broad, cost-effective, environmentally sound options that work and that can help us during the current drought and far into the future.”

    FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    • View the downloadable infographic and full issue brief here: www.nrdc..org/water/ca-water-supply-solutions.asp and  www..pacinst.org/publication/ca-water-supply-solutions
    • The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDCWater.
    • The Pacific Institute is one of the world’s leading independent nonprofit research organizations working to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. Based in Oakland, California, the Institute conducts interdisciplinary research and partners with stakeholders to produce solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity – in California, nationally, and internationally. Visit us at www.pacinst.org

     

     

    The Australian Approach to Water Crisis: Work With Farmers

    Posted by Brian Richter of The Nature Conservancy and University of Virginia in Water Currents on June 5, 2014

    The Murray River near Renmark, Australia. (Photograph by Brian Richter)

    With water crises erupting in California, Texas, and the Colorado River Basin, state water managers throughout the western U.S. and our federal government could take some valuable lessons from the impressive progress made in Australia over the past decade. The Aussies have taken some giant leaps forward in their efforts to avert water shortages in their largest river basin – the Murray-Darling. Most notably, the Aussies realized decades ago that over-allocation of water rights in the Murray-Darling Basin was damaging both to the environment and to their economy. The Murray-Darling Basin is Australia’s food basket, providing nearly 40% of the country’s agricultural production.  Most of the country’s fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products, beef, lamb, and wine, are produced using Murray-Darling water.  When farmers don’t get the water they need, everybody suffers. But when too many straws are drawing from the rivers, you can be certain that when dry times come, many will be sucking air. During a devastating “Millennium Drought” in 1997-2009, river flows throughout the basin were only 40-60% of average.  Many farmers received no water allocations whatsoever for three years.  Dairy production fell by 14 percent, cotton fell by a fourth, meat by half, and rice farming stopped almost entirely. Realizing that setting a maximum limit on water use is essential to everyone’s water and food security, the Aussies in 1997 adopted “The Cap.”  This limit on total water use – which was further institutionalized in a comprehensive Basin Plan adopted in 2012 – recognized that water rights needed to be reduced by about a third if the country was going to avoid another economic and environmental disaster. Importantly, the cap on water rights will leave 60% of the water in the rivers, on average, for ecological support.  While many scientists argued for even higher levels of protection for the environment, it is hoped that the imposed cap on water extraction will be sufficient to avoid the massive fish kills and toxic blue-green algal blooms that occurred historically when water extractions were greater….

    ….Similar to the western U.S., most of the water consumption in the Murray-Darling Basin goes to irrigated agriculture.  Since 2002, the Australian Commonwealth (federal) government has allocated nearly U.S. $14 billion dollars to reduce the volume of water being used on farms. More than two-thirds of this money has been directed into a Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program that helps farmers to install more efficient irrigation technologies like drip irrigation, or reduce water losses through infrastructure improvements such as concrete lining of earthen ditches.  This program has been extremely well-received, and farmers have lined up to take the government’s help in saving water on their farms.  Importantly, the government recovers the portion of the water right that is no longer needed due to the water savings. The remainder of this federal funding support was directed at buying water rights from willing sellers.  Some farmers sold their water and got out of farming altogether.  But many others switched to growing crops that used less water, thereby freeing up some water for sale. To date, nearly 70% of the targeted reductions in water use have been achieved.  Much of the early progress came from buying back water rights, but the Commonwealth government has now largely shifted to irrigation improvements, at the request of rural communities concerned about losing farm families after selling their water rights.  Even though the water savings achieved through these irrigation investments is 2-7 times more expensive than buying the water outright, the government has listened to rural concerns about the possible cultural and economic disruption that can result from buying back too much water.

    The Principles of Sustainable Water Management

    The Australian water reforms and investments achieved in the last decade exemplify three of the seven sustainability principles that I’ve described in my new book Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability, to be released by Island Press next week:

    • Set limits on total consumptive use of water
    • Invest in water conservation to its maximum potential
    • If too much water is being consumptively used, subsidize reductions in consumption…

       

     

    The reservoir above Englebright Dam on the Yuba River—a third filled up with sediment.

    UC Berkeley California Magazine

    No Joy in Mudville: Amid Drought, California’s Reservoirs are Clogged with Gunk

    By Glen Martin June 5, 2014

    As the drought drags on and reservoir levels keep dropping, our politicians predictably are clamoring for new dams. But there may be a better and cheaper way to squeeze more water out of California’s desiccated watersheds: Clean out the gunk behind existing reservoirs. That’s because dams collect sediment from eroding watersheds along with water. Our reservoirs rapidly are filling up with silt, sand and rocks—and the more sediment, the less room there is to collect life-sustaining water. “So far, there’s about 1.7 million acre feet of sediment behind California’s dams,” observes U.S. Geological Survey geomorphologist J. Toby Minear, “and more is deposited every year.” Make no mistake: 1.7 million acre feet is a lot of mud, no matter how you shovel it. A single acre foot is equivalent to a foot of a given substance covering an acre. By another, more familiar metric, that amounts to 325,852 gallons.

    The problem is worse for smaller reservoirs in “highly erodible” watersheds than for larger reservoirs with stable, rocky slopes. In other words, it’s more of a worry for the small projects in the coastal range than the big reservoirs in the Sierra foothills. There are many exceptions to this rule, however; some reservoirs east of the Central Valley also are clogging up. “Really, it’s an issue for all of the state’s 1,400 reservoirs,” says UC Berkeley professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Matt Kondolf.  ”And for some reservoirs it’s critical.”

    Kondolf cites four dams with reservoirs that are literally topped out with sediment: Rindge Dam on Malibu Creek, Matilija Dam on the Ventura River, San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River, and Searsville Dam on San Francisquito Creek on the San Francisco Peninsula. All these “reservoirs” would be better put to cultivating potatoes than storing water. “On top of that there are maybe 200 reservoirs that are from a third to half full (of sediment),” he adds.  ”Englebright Dam on the Yuba River is about a third full with 200 million cubic yards of sediment. Black Butte reservoir (west of Orland) is also filling up rapidly, with close to a third of its capacity taken by sediment.”…

  7. Conservation Science News June 13, 2014

    Leave a Comment

     

     

    Focus of the Week: CA DROUGHT and Some Solutions

    1-ECOLOGY, BIODIVERSITY, RELATED

    2-CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTREME EVENTS

    3- ADAPTATION

    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 the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative Newsletter or the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium listserve to receive this or you can email me directly at Ellie Cohen, ecohen at pointblue.org if you want your name added to or dropped from this list. 

    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- CA DROUGHT and some solutions

     

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

     

     

     

    New report from the Pacific Institute and the NRDC; Drought-stricken California could save up to 14 million acre-feet of water; enough to supply all the state’s cities annually

    by Maven From the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council:

    “California could be saving up to 14 million acre-feet of untapped water – providing more than the amount of water used in all of California’s cities in one year – with an aggressive statewide effort to use water-saving practices, reuse water, and capture lost stormwater, according to a new analysis released today by the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    “Our current approach to water use is unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough water to meet our needs,” said Kate Poole, NRDC senior attorney with the water program. “At a time when every drop counts, we need to employ sensible and cost-effective 21st century solutions that will help us reduce uses today while promising new, resilient supplies for cities and farms tomorrow.”

    “As climate change brings more extreme weather, including droughts, ramping up forward-thinking solutions now will help us be more resilient,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. “With widespread adoption of available water conservation and efficiency improvements, demand can be met more readily, less expensively, and with less pressure on our tapped-out rivers and groundwater basins. Moreover, water reuse and stormwater capture can help boost local supplies.” NRDC and the Pacific Institute’s issue brief, The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply, is a first-of-its-kind statewide analysis examining the significant potential contributions achievable from a combination of improved efficiency in agricultural and urban water use, water reuse and recycling, and increased capturing of local rainwater….

     

    Key findings and solutions from the new study include:

    • Agriculture uses about 80 percent of California’s developed water supply. Agricultural water users can develop more sustainable water use by expanding adoption of key modern irrigation technologies and practices, such as drip irrigation and precise irrigation scheduling. Some farmers are already employing these practices, which, extended, can reduce agricultural water use by 17 to 22 percent – or 5.6 to 6.6 million acre-feet of water annually. These savings are the equivalent to the surface water that Central Valley farms are lacking this year due to the drought.
    • Urban areas use about 20 percent of the state’s developed water supply, much of which is delivered from reservoirs hundreds of miles away at great ecological and energy cost. Improved efficiency, stormwater capture, and greater water reuse can together save a total of 5.2 to 7.1 million acre-feet of water per year, enough water to supply all of urban Southern California and have water remaining to help restore ecosystems and recharge aquifers. These approaches also cut energy use, boost local water reliability, and improve water quality in coastal regions.
    • In total, these 21st century water supply solutions can offer up to 14 million acre-feet in new supplies and demand reductions per year, more water than is used in all of California’s cities in a year. These savings would provide enough water to serve 20 cities the size of Los Angeles, every year.

    “While there’s no silver bullet to solving this water crisis, efficiency, reuse, and stormwater provide a tremendous water-saving blueprint we can realize if we take collaborative action now, backed by government and community leadership,” said Poole. “This is a critical moment for all water users to step up and implement robust solutions that will make a lasting difference.” “We know that traditional water solutions have failed to solve California’s water problems,” said Gleick. “The good news is that there are broad, cost-effective, environmentally sound options that work and that can help us during the current drought and far into the future.”

    FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    • View the downloadable infographic and full issue brief here: www.nrdc..org/water/ca-water-supply-solutions.asp and  www..pacinst.org/publication/ca-water-supply-solutions
    • The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDCWater.
    • The Pacific Institute is one of the world’s leading independent nonprofit research organizations working to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. Based in Oakland, California, the Institute conducts interdisciplinary research and partners with stakeholders to produce solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity – in California, nationally, and internationally. Visit us at www.pacinst.org

     

     

    The Australian Approach to Water Crisis: Work With Farmers

    Posted by Brian Richter of The Nature Conservancy and University of Virginia in Water Currents on June 5, 2014

    The Murray River near Renmark, Australia. (Photograph by Brian Richter)

    With water crises erupting in California, Texas, and the Colorado River Basin, state water managers throughout the western U.S. and our federal government could take some valuable lessons from the impressive progress made in Australia over the past decade. The Aussies have taken some giant leaps forward in their efforts to avert water shortages in their largest river basin – the Murray-Darling. Most notably, the Aussies realized decades ago that over-allocation of water rights in the Murray-Darling Basin was damaging both to the environment and to their economy. The Murray-Darling Basin is Australia’s food basket, providing nearly 40% of the country’s agricultural production.  Most of the country’s fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products, beef, lamb, and wine, are produced using Murray-Darling water.  When farmers don’t get the water they need, everybody suffers. But when too many straws are drawing from the rivers, you can be certain that when dry times come, many will be sucking air. During a devastating “Millennium Drought” in 1997-2009, river flows throughout the basin were only 40-60% of average.  Many farmers received no water allocations whatsoever for three years.  Dairy production fell by 14 percent, cotton fell by a fourth, meat by half, and rice farming stopped almost entirely. Realizing that setting a maximum limit on water use is essential to everyone’s water and food security, the Aussies in 1997 adopted “The Cap.”  This limit on total water use – which was further institutionalized in a comprehensive Basin Plan adopted in 2012 – recognized that water rights needed to be reduced by about a third if the country was going to avoid another economic and environmental disaster. Importantly, the cap on water rights will leave 60% of the water in the rivers, on average, for ecological support.  While many scientists argued for even higher levels of protection for the environment, it is hoped that the imposed cap on water extraction will be sufficient to avoid the massive fish kills and toxic blue-green algal blooms that occurred historically when water extractions were greater….

    ….Similar to the western U.S., most of the water consumption in the Murray-Darling Basin goes to irrigated agriculture.  Since 2002, the Australian Commonwealth (federal) government has allocated nearly U.S. $14 billion dollars to reduce the volume of water being used on farms. More than two-thirds of this money has been directed into a Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program that helps farmers to install more efficient irrigation technologies like drip irrigation, or reduce water losses through infrastructure improvements such as concrete lining of earthen ditches.  This program has been extremely well-received, and farmers have lined up to take the government’s help in saving water on their farms.  Importantly, the government recovers the portion of the water right that is no longer needed due to the water savings. The remainder of this federal funding support was directed at buying water rights from willing sellers.  Some farmers sold their water and got out of farming altogether.  But many others switched to growing crops that used less water, thereby freeing up some water for sale. To date, nearly 70% of the targeted reductions in water use have been achieved.  Much of the early progress came from buying back water rights, but the Commonwealth government has now largely shifted to irrigation improvements, at the request of rural communities concerned about losing farm families after selling their water rights.  Even though the water savings achieved through these irrigation investments is 2-7 times more expensive than buying the water outright, the government has listened to rural concerns about the possible cultural and economic disruption that can result from buying back too much water.

    The Principles of Sustainable Water Management

    The Australian water reforms and investments achieved in the last decade exemplify three of the seven sustainability principles that I’ve described in my new book Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability, to be released by Island Press next week:

    • Set limits on total consumptive use of water
    • Invest in water conservation to its maximum potential
    • If too much water is being consumptively used, subsidize reductions in consumption…

       

     

    The reservoir above Englebright Dam on the Yuba River—a third filled up with sediment.

    UC Berkeley California Magazine

    No Joy in Mudville: Amid Drought, California’s Reservoirs are Clogged with Gunk

    By Glen Martin June 5, 2014

    As the drought drags on and reservoir levels keep dropping, our politicians predictably are clamoring for new dams. But there may be a better and cheaper way to squeeze more water out of California’s desiccated watersheds: Clean out the gunk behind existing reservoirs. That’s because dams collect sediment from eroding watersheds along with water. Our reservoirs rapidly are filling up with silt, sand and rocks—and the more sediment, the less room there is to collect life-sustaining water. “So far, there’s about 1.7 million acre feet of sediment behind California’s dams,” observes U.S. Geological Survey geomorphologist J. Toby Minear, “and more is deposited every year.” Make no mistake: 1.7 million acre feet is a lot of mud, no matter how you shovel it. A single acre foot is equivalent to a foot of a given substance covering an acre. By another, more familiar metric, that amounts to 325,852 gallons.

    The problem is worse for smaller reservoirs in “highly erodible” watersheds than for larger reservoirs with stable, rocky slopes. In other words, it’s more of a worry for the small projects in the coastal range than the big reservoirs in the Sierra foothills. There are many exceptions to this rule, however; some reservoirs east of the Central Valley also are clogging up. “Really, it’s an issue for all of the state’s 1,400 reservoirs,” says UC Berkeley professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Matt Kondolf.  ”And for some reservoirs it’s critical.”

    Kondolf cites four dams with reservoirs that are literally topped out with sediment: Rindge Dam on Malibu Creek, Matilija Dam on the Ventura River, San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River, and Searsville Dam on San Francisquito Creek on the San Francisco Peninsula. All these “reservoirs” would be better put to cultivating potatoes than storing water. “On top of that there are maybe 200 reservoirs that are from a third to half full (of sediment),” he adds.  ”Englebright Dam on the Yuba River is about a third full with 200 million cubic yards of sediment. Black Butte reservoir (west of Orland) is also filling up rapidly, with close to a third of its capacity taken by sediment.”…

     

    More drought related articles below in Climate section….

     

     

     

    A Call to Action to Protect Our Oceans

    Posted: 06/09/2014 10:05 am EDT Updated: 06/09/2014 10:59 am EDT

    By Secretary of State John Kerry

    The ocean covers almost three quarters of our planet and sustains life on Earth as we know it. But our ocean is at grave risk today — and we know the reason why. Human activity threatens the world’s ocean. Often illegal international fishing practices are decimating fisheries. A garbage patch twice the size of Texas floats in the Pacific Ocean, evidence of the trash we cast into our waterways. Rising carbon dioxide levels from emissions increase ocean acidity, endangering coral reefs and other marine life. The warning could not be starker: Unless these trends are reversed, the effects across the planet will be profound. The damage will be felt whether you live on a coastline or hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean’s edge. The ocean produces half the world’s oxygen, creates the clouds that bring fresh water and regulates our climate. More than a billion people eat fish for their primary source of protein. Fishing is a $500 billion global industry, and one in six jobs is marine-related in the United States…..What we do as individuals will ultimately make the difference. Some acts are simple. Don’t throw trash into waterways. Buy sustainable seafood. Volunteer at least one day a year to clean beaches or waterways in your community. Others require sustained commitments by people everywhere to make certain saving the ocean is a priority for their government. In observing World Oceans Day yesterday, we recognized that protecting our ocean is not a luxury. It is a necessity that contributes to our economy, our climate and our way of life. Working together, we can change the current course and chart a sustainable future.

     


    Habitat Fragmentation Increases Vulnerability to Disease in Wild Plants


    June 12, 2014 — Proximity to other meadows increases disease resistance in wild meadow plants, according to a new study. The study analyzed the epidemiological dynamics of a fungal pathogen in the archipelago of Finland…. full story

    J. Jousimo, A. J. M. Tack, O. Ovaskainen, T. Mononen, H. Susi, C. Tollenaere, A.-L. Laine. Ecological and evolutionary effects of fragmentation on infectious disease dynamics. Science, 2014; 344 (6189): 1289 DOI: 10.1126/science.1253621

     

    Each year 500,000 American golden-plovers (pictured) fly between Arctic N. America and South America with potentially hundreds of thousands of diaspores trapped in their feathers.Credit: Jean-François Lamarre, CC BY SA


    Tiny plants ride on the coattails of migratory birds: Migrant birds may be virtual dispersal highways for plants

    Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:53 AM PDT

    Since the days of Darwin, biologists have questioned why certain plants occur in widely separated places, the farthest reaches of North American and the Southern tip of South America but nowhere in between. How did they get there? Researchers have now found an important piece of the puzzle: migratory birds about to fly to South America from the Arctic harbor small plant parts in their feathers.

     

    Lily R. Lewis, Emily Behling, Hannah Gousse, Emily Qian, Chris S. Elphick, Jean-François Lamarre, Joël Bêty, Joe Liebezeit, Ricardo Rozzi, Bernard Goffinet. First evidence of bryophyte diaspores in the plumage of transequatorial migrant birds. PeerJ, 2014; 2: e424 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.424

     

     

    shutterstock

    The $142 Trillion Resource No One’s Paying Attention To

    “It’s an imprecise estimate, but it’s almost definitely a pretty big number. And we’ve got to start paying attention.”

    By Jeff Spross on June 9, 2014

    The benefits human civilization enjoys from the world’s natural ecosystems — grasslands, marshes, coral reefs, forests, and the like — amounts to something in the vicinity of $142.7 trillion a year. That’s over eight times the value of the entire U.S. economy ($16.2 trillion a year), and almost twice the value of the world economy ($71.8 trillion a year). According to a report in the New York Times last week, which flagged a new study that tries to put a dollar value on these “ecosystem services,” those benefits run the gamut from food production to protection from storm surges, water purification, preventing soil erosion, and carbon dioxide sequestration. Human civilization’s entire ability to function rests on the ability of those ecosystem services to keep functioning reliably. But because those services are inherently difficult to put a price tag on, they remain largely invisible and thus undervalued by markets. For instance, one of the central reasons human economies continue to pump out massive amount of carbon dioxide, despite the looming threat of climate change, is that there’s no cost to those emissions. The social cost of carbon (SCC) is an attempt to put a price tag on those emissions. This tells policymakers what cost they should impose on emitters when designing a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, or similar environmental regulations — or even a rule about microwave oven efficiency. As with the SCC, studies like this one try to make the value of natural ecosystems visible to markets. The study is also an update to original work done in 1997. That analysis pegged the value of the globe’s ecosystem services at $48.7 trillion. But since then hundreds of new studies have revealed that ecosystems do far more for humanity than originally appreciated, forcing the research team to massively update their figures.

     

    New formula assigns dollar value to natural resources

    Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:43 AM PDT

    A first-of-its-kind, interdisciplinary equation to measure the monetary value of natural resources has been developed by researchers. The equation uses principles commonly used to value other capital assets. In assigning natural capital monetary value, the approach will have widespread implications for policymakers and various stakeholders, and will also advocate for the creation of robust asset markets for natural capital, a much-needed advance.

     

    Eli P. Fenichel, Joshua K. Abbott. Natural Capital: From Metaphor to Measurement. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 2014; 1 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1086/676034

     

     

    White sharks in northwest Atlantic offers optimistic outlook for recovery

    Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

    White sharks are among the largest, most widespread apex predators in the ocean, but are also among the most vulnerable. A new study, the most comprehensive ever on seasonal distribution patterns and historic trends in abundance of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, used records compiled over more than 200 years to update knowledge and fill in gaps in information about this species.

     

     

    Of Fish, Monsoons and the Future

    A Push to Save Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake

    By CHRIS BERDIKJUNE 9, 2014 NY Times AKOL, CAMBODIA — As the sun rises on Tonle Sap Lake, fishermen head out from floating villages like this one, past half-submerged mangroves and flooded shrub land, to check their nets, much as they have for centuries.

    Every year, the lake yields about 300,000 tons of fish, making it one of the world’s most productive freshwater ecosystems. That and the floods that pulse through it in monsoon season, swelling it to as much as five times its dry-season size, have earned the lake the nickname “Cambodia’s beating heart.”

    But the Tonle Sap is in trouble — from overfishing to feed a fast-growing population, from the cutting of mangrove forests that shelter young fish, from hydroelectric dams upstream, and from the dry seasons that are expected to grow hotter and longer with climate change.

    The Tonle Sap, one of the world’s most productive freshwater ecosystems, is in trouble. A group of researchers is working with local fishermen to figure out how to save it. Credit Mak Remissa/European Pressphoto Agency

    Now an international team of researchers has joined local fishermen in an ambitious project to save the Tonle Sap. The scientists are building an intricate computer model that aims to track the vast array of connections between human activity and natural systems as they change over time. Begun in 2012, the model will take several years to complete, while threats to the Tonle Sap continue to mount. But the hope is to peer into the lake’s future to predict how different developmental, economic and regulatory choices may ripple through this interconnected and fast-changing ecosystem, and to plan a sustainable way forward….The computer model does not yet account for the surging population, but it already has years of data on water levels. By sending blue pulses across the map on his laptop to simulate flooding, Dr. Boumans can calculate where floodwater sediments, shown in oranges and reds, are likely to settle. He developed the modeling approach a decade ago with Robert Costanza, an environmental economist now at Australian National University. They called it Mimes, short for multiscale integrated models of ecosystem services.

    It is among the most ambitious of several models to emerge from the movement among ecologists to assign economic values to nature and its processes. Critics warn that such models can lead scientists to discount important data that disagree with their forecasts; others say focusing on “services” puts price tags on nature, undervaluing things like biodiversity that aren’t bought and sold. The idea’s supporters, however, say it aligns nature’s interests with our own….”In the past, it was a conservation and environmental argument pitted against the economic argument,” said Lewis Incze, a marine ecologist and oceanographer at the University of Maine who is not part of the Tonle Sap project. “You can still argue about valuation and importance, but these models recognize that this is not one class of argument against another, but a whole family of processes that need to be recognized and accounted for together.”

    Dr. Boumans said the Mimes model “lets you explore the decisions you’re making about a landscape and seascape, showing you what’s gained and lost over space and time….

     

     

    Rare condor sighting in Bay Area

    June 13, 2014 SF Chronicle

    Endangered California condor was photographed in San Mateo County, the first time one has been seen that far north in more than a century.

     

     

    Jay Holcomb, leader of International Bird Rescue, dies

    By Carolyn Jones June 13, 2014 SF Chronicle

    Jay Holcomb, director of one of the world’s leading bird-rescue organizations and a pioneer in oil-spill wildlife rehabilitation, died Tuesday in Modesto….

     

     

     

     

     


    Global Lower Troposphere v5.6 Anomaly 1978-2014.Credit: UAH


    Third Warmest May in Satellite Record Might Portend Record-Setting El Niño



    June 13, 2014 — May 2014 was the third warmest May in the 35-year satellite-measured global temperature record, and the warmest May that wasn’t during an El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event, according to new data. While May 2014 was not officially an El Niño month, indications are that an El Niño is forming in the eastern central Pacific off the equatorial coast of South America. Even if that El Niño is nothing spectacular, it might become a record setter simply because it is getting a warmer start, Christy said. “The long-term baseline temperature is about three tens of a degree (C) warmer than it was when the big El Niño of 1997-1998 began, and that event set the one-month record with an average global temperature that was 0.66 C (almost 1.2 degrees F) warmer than normal in April 1998.”January through August of 1998 are all in the 14 warmest months in the satellite record, and that El Niño started when global temperatures were somewhat chilled; the global average temperature in May 1997 was 0.14 C (about 0.25 degrees F) cooler than the long-term seasonal norm for May. “With the baseline so much warmer, this upcoming El Niño won’t have very far to go to break that 0.66 C record,” Christy said. “That isn’t to say it will, but even an average-sized warming event will have a chance to get close to that level.”……. full story

     

    California seeing hottest year on record thus far

    Kurtis Alexander SF Chronicle Updated 7:47 am, Friday, June 13, 2014

    Remember the 90-degree days in San Francisco last month? How about the triple digits inland this spring? According to a new federal climate report, those were anything but blips. California is baking in its hottest year on record. Temperatures between January and May averaged 5 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, a finding that federal scientists say is further indication that the planet is heating up – and posing greater risks for devastating wildfires, water shortages and rising sea levels. “It’s kind of an exclamation point on the long-term warming trend,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for the National Climatic Data Center, which released its update on nationwide temperatures Thursday….

    Related Stories:

     

    Double Trouble for the Mediterranean Sea: Acidification and warming threaten iconic species

    Posted: 12 Jun 2014 08:45 AM PDT

    Scientist have finalized their findings about the threat of Mediterranean Sea warming and acidification on key species and ecosystems after a 3.5 year study. They have found that this sea is warming and acidifying at unprecedented rates – the main reason is emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. This increases the CO2 in the atmosphere causing warming of the atmosphere and the ocean as well as acidification of its waters due to uptake of CO2 by surface waters.


    Rise and fall of prehistoric penguin populations charted

    Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

    A study of how penguin populations have changed over the last 30,000 years has shown that between the last ice age and up to around 1,000 years ago penguin populations benefitted from climate warming and retreating ice.

     

    Gemma V. Clucas, Michael J. Dunn, Gareth Dyke, Steven D. Emslie, Ron Naveen, Michael J. Polito, Oliver G. Pybus, Alex D. Rogers, Tom Hart. A reversal of fortunes: climate change ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in Antarctic Peninsula penguins. Scientific Reports, 2014; 4 DOI: 10.1038/srep05024

     

     

    Penguins Experience Reversal Of Fortunes After Weathering Past Climate Changes

    By Ari Phillips on June 12, 2014

    A new study shows that while three Antarctic penguin species may have actually grown during the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 years ago, the rapid warming now is negatively affecting at least two of them. …The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday, says “this ‘reversal of fortunes’ for two former climate change ‘winners’ has resulted from anthropogenic impacts outside the range of natural variation that has occurred in the past.”

    Rapid warming trends in the Antarctic Peninsula over the past 50 years has led to decreased sea ice, loss of winter habitat, and a reduction in krill stocks that is negatively affecting two of the penguin species — the Adélie and chinstrap penguins — but not gentoo penguins, which are apparently less reliant on krill. The scientists warn that while this is the only example of ‘reversal of fortunes’ they know of they “expect many more will be identified as global warming proceeds and biodiversity declines.”

     
     

    West Antarctica is seeing dramatic ice loss particularly the Antarctic Peninsula and Pine Island regions. Ice loss culprits include the loss off buttressing ice shelves, wind, and a sub-shelf channel that allows warm water to intrude below the ice. CREDIT: NASA/NSIDC

     

    Lead author Gemma Clucas, from Ocean and Earth Sciences at the University of Southampton said that while we “typically think of penguins as relying on ice this research shows that during the last Ice Age there was probably too much ice around Antarctica to support large populations.” When the snow and ice began to melt new penguin nesting sites became available and all three penguin species benefited. However, this time around, global warming is reducing the availability of krill, an importance penguin food source, and as a result Adélie and chinstrap penguin populations are dropping at a precipitous rate in the Antarctic Peninsula according to several recent studies. The gentoo penguins are able to substitute some of this loss with fish and squid.

    Krill are tiny, shrimp-like animals that rely on sea ice for the ice algae that they feed on. Commercial fishing is also impacting their populations. In terms of biomass, krill are probably the most abundant species on the planet. However around the Antarctic Peninsula krill populations have decreased by about 80 percent since the mid-1970s.

    “Despite historic warming clearly opening up new opportunities for penguins, we should not assume that current rapid warming caused by human activity is good for penguins as a whole,” said Clucas. “Evidence from other studies shows that climate change today is creating lots of losers and few winners.”

     

     

     

    Reduced sea ice area also noted in winter

    Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:34 AM PDT

    Warmer Atlantic water has caused a retreat of the ice edge north of Svalbard during the last decades, researchers report. In contrast to other areas of the Arctic Ocean, the largest ice loss north of Svalbard occurred during winter. The Arctic sea ice area has been measured, using satellites, since 1979.

     


    New Video: [West Antarctica] Meltwater Pulse 2BMUST SEE

    SKEPTICAL SCIENCE

    Posted on 9 June 2014 by greenman3610 This is a re-post from Climate Crocks

    Bud Ward at Yale Climate Connections:
    It’s not often that a scientific research paper generates the kind of media attention and scientific community buzz that resulted from a recent study on the apparent inevitability of substantial Antarctic glacial melting.

    The early May research headed by lead author Eric Rignot of NASA called attention to melting now under way in Antarctica that CBS News anchor Scott Pelley reported “cannot be stopped.” “Scientists say the situation is almost certainly unstoppable,” NBC News Anchor Brian Mitchell reported.

    Rignot cautioned that the research indicates “we’ve passed the point of no return … It’s just a matter of time before these glaciers disappear to the sea.” While he indicated that the full melt, at the current pace, might not occur for two centuries, he pointed too to evidence suggesting the likelihood of an accelerating pace. “There’s probably nothing that can be done to stop this,” Rignot said. “This is really happening,” lead NASA lead polar ice researcher Tom Wagner said. “This weak underbelly of Antarctica is in fact starting to float out into the sea, and there’s not a lot to hold it back.” A “This is Not Cool” video on the report by independent videographer Peter Sinclair is the first to be posted under the new Yale Climate Connections name, formerly The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media…..

     

     

    Warming climates intensify greenhouse gas given out by oceans
    (June 8, 2014) — Rising global temperatures could increase the amount of carbon dioxide naturally released by the world’s oceans, fueling further climate change, a study suggests. Scientists studied a 26,000-year-old sediment core to find out how the ocean’s ability to take up atmospheric CO2 has changed over time, and found that when silicon was least abundant in ocean waters corresponded with relatively warm climates, low levels of atmospheric iron, and reduced CO2 uptake by the oceans’ plankton. … > full story

     

     

    Major West Antarctic glacier melting from geothermal sources
    (June 9, 2014) — New research on the Thwaits Glacier will help ice sheet modeling efforts needed to determine when the collapse of the glacier will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. … > full story

     

     

    Underground volcanoes spur Antarctic glacier melt

    By Jim Algar, Tech Times | June 10, 6:13 PM

    Glaciers in Antarctica are being melted not only by warmer ocean waters but also by underwater volcanoes, a change in our basic understanding of what’s happening underneath West Antarctica’s ice sheet, scientists say.

     

     

    Heat wave, power cuts, riots in India

    June 7 2014 at 03:46pm By SAPA

    Lucknow, India – Thousands of people enraged by power cuts during an extreme heat wave rioted across northern India, setting electricity substations on fire and taking power company officials hostage, officials said Saturday. The impoverished state of Uttar Pradesh has never had enough power for its 200 million people – about the population of Brazil – and many receive only a few hours a day under normal conditions, while 63 percent of homes have no access to electricity at all.

    But recent temperatures that soared to 47 degrees Celsius (117 Fahrenheit) have caused power demand to spike at 11,000 megawatts – far higher than the state’s 8,000 MW capacity – triggering blackouts that shut down fans, city water pumps and air conditioners. Thousands of people stormed an electricity substation Friday near the state capital of Lucknow, ransacking offices and taking several workers hostage for 18 hours until police intervened Saturday morning, state utility official Narendra Nath Mullick said. …

     

     

    Climate change would drown parts of San Mateo County [SF Bay Area]

    Jon Christensen and Eric Rodenbeck SF Chronicle Updated 11:15 am, Friday, June 13, 2014

    Climate change can seem abstract. But if you live by the bay, it shouldn’t. Within 40 to 60 years, coastal floods will affect as many as 90,000 residents in San Mateo County, the most vulnerable county in California. These people live on land less than 3 feet above the high tide line along San Francisco Bay, and rising sea levels resulting from global warming are likely to make previously unprecedented floods an annual event along the bay shore. We say “these people” because many are alive today. People now under 40 years of age will see this happen in their lifetimes. More than $21 billion in property is also at risk, along with 220 sites listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as potential contamination threats, and schools, churches, community centers, police and fire stations, and more. Levees and flood control structures may protect around a quarter of these areas from floods at the 3-foot level, but only 10 percent of the area when floods are likely to crest 4 feet in the following decades….. For more information: To explore an interactive map and learn more about sea-level rise in California, go to: http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/ssrf/California. Source: Map from Climate Central’s Surging Seas; map tiles by Stamen Design and Open Street Map. For full list of data sources, visit http://ss2.climatecentral.org

     

     


    DROUGHT:

     

     

    A Caltrans information sign urges drivers to save water due to the California drought emergency in Los Angeles, California in this February 13, 2014 file photo. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn/Files

    Northern California leaders ask for help in drought

    By Sharon Bernstein Reuters SACRAMENTO Calif. Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:01am IST

    (Reuters) – With California facing its worst drought in decades, farmers, environmentalists and government officials begged lawmakers Monday to invest in projects to shore up the state’s water supply.The demands from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, The Nature Conservancy and Northern California water districts are an effort to help break a deadlock in the state legislature over how to prevent future water shortages. The demands range from environmental restoration work for rivers and wetlands to building new reservoirs. …

     

    Will California’s Drought Bring About $7 Broccoli?

    The end of cheap fruits and veggies draws nigh. Here’s why.

    —By Tom Philpott| May/June 2014 Issue Mother Jones

     

    Illustration: Christoph Hitz

    When people tell you to “eat your veggies,” they’re really urging you to take a swig of California water. The state churns out nearly half of all US-grown fruits, vegetables, and nuts; farms use 80 percent of its water. For decades, that arrangement worked out pretty well. Winter precipitation replenished the state’s aquifers and covered its mountains with snow that fed rivers and irrigation systems during the summer. But last winter, for the third year in a row, the rains didn’t come, likely making this the driest 30-month stretch in the state’s recorded history. So what does the drought mean for your plate? Here are a few points to keep in mind: The abnormally wet period when California emerged as our fresh-produce powerhouse may be over.
    B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California-Berkeley and author of The West Without Water, says the 20th century was a rain-soaked anomaly compared to the region’s long-term history. If California reverts to its drier norm, farmers could expect an average of 15 percent less precipitation in the coming decades, and climate change could exacerbate that. Less rain means more irrigation water diverted from already dwindling rivers—bad news for river fish such as the threatened delta smelt. Wells won’t save the state, either: Farmers are already pumping the groundwater that lies deep under their farms much faster than it can be naturally recharged

     

     

    Brown Is The New Green At U.S. Open: Water Is ‘Biggest Obstacle’ Facing Golf, Says USGA

    By Joe Romm on June 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Ian Poulter practices on fifth hole of U.S. Open in Pinehurst, NC. The course has slashed water use, a future in store for many courses, thanks to man-made climate change. (Photo: AP)

    If you tune into the U.S. Open golf championship this Father’s Day weekend, you may think you’re watching the Dubai Desert Classic or the infamous “Brown British Open.”

    But the U.S. Golf Association wants you to know that what you’re really seeing at Pinehurst #2 in North Carolina is the future of golf. The Washington Post reports that USGA executive director Mike Davis said this week: “We happen to think that, long term, water is going to be the biggest obstacle in the game of golf…. It’s not going to be a question of cost. It’s a question of: Will you be able to get it?

    Brown is the new green. Or, rather, browns are the new greens….

     

     

     

     

     

    Hawaii passes climate change adaptation law

    Responding to Climate Change

    Jun 12, 2014 Sophie Yeo

     

    The Act will establish a climate council, active from 1 January 2015, to coordinate climate action across different departments within the state government….

     

     

     

    Acid Oceans Can Be Fought at Home

    Coastal communities can help combat ocean acidification by cutting back on water pollution

    Climate Wire Jun 5, 2014 |By Elspeth Dehnert and ClimateWire

    For coastal communities in the United States, the path to confronting souring seas can likely be found close to home in their very own backyards. In fact, according to a recent study co-authored by several current and former Stanford researchers, there are several local and regional actions—many of which are not too costly—that can be taken to accelerate the adaptation to ocean acidification. “We think of ocean acidification as being controlled by carbon dioxide, and it is, but there are a lot of different things humans do that affect the chemical equilibrium of the carbonate system in the coastal zone,” said Aaron Strong, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. He pointed to river discharge, local-scale upwelling, and nutrient and stormwater pollution as some of the major factors behind ocean water’s increasingly unbalanced acidity levels.
    “Ocean acidification should become a part of the conversation among quality managers, stormwater managers, agricultural managers … and it tends not to be in that space,” Strong added. To fill in the gaps, the study outlines current local and regional ocean-acidification management efforts and recommends nine other “opportunities for action” that state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, universities and industry can implement for about $1 million a pop…..Some states and regions, however, are leading the charge. Launched in 2011 by former Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), the Blue Ribbon Panel brought together policymakers, scientists, public opinion leaders and industry representatives to discuss the effects of ocean acidification on the state’s shellfish resources.

    It was a groundbreaking success that spurred similar efforts in California, Oregon and Maine, Strong said. The panel also inspired the creation of the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel, a regional initiative composed of scientists from California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia that aims to identify coastwide management approaches and provide an example for other regions striving to combat the effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia. “While regional initiatives can’t hope to replace international efforts, we’re worried about what ocean acidification is going to do to marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them,” said Michael “Moose” O’Donnell, a staff scientist on the panel and senior scientist at the California Ocean Science Trust. “The Pacific Northwest, West Coast states and Maine are at the forefront of this, but ocean acidification is also a problem in the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico, and we hope these actions will provide a template and framework for more broad and comprehensive action,” Strong said.

     

     


    EUROCLIMA Publishes Guides on Coasts, Soil Degradation, Rural Adaptation and Urban NAMAs in Latin America

    May 2014: The European Union’s (EU) EUROCLIMA climate change cooperation programme with Latin America has published four publications that aim to provide guidance to Latin American governments as they design mitigation and adaptation strategies and policies. EUROCLIMA’s ‘Climate Change and Risk Management: Vulnerability Analysis of Coastal Marine Infrastructures in Latin America’ guide sets out a methodology for analyzing coastal marine infrastructure vulnerability at national, sub-national and local levels. The study recommends creating an observatory platform, hosted by an international or regional body, to compile, exchange and disseminate initiatives of interest and promote regional discussion and exchange between scientists and technicians. It also recommends creating national agencies for integrated coastal area management, as well as observatories for monitoring processes, performance levels and effects of actions….The EUROCLIMA programme is a partnership created in 2010 between the EU and the Latin American region that focuses on climate change policy dialogue, governance, legislation and public awareness. EUROCLIMA is implemented by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and EuropeAid.

    Publications: 

     

     

    New England lakes recovering rapidly from acid rain
    (June 9, 2014) — Policy makers have been working to reduce acid rain, a serious environmental problem that can devastate lakes, streams, and forests and the plants and animals that live in these ecosystems, for the past 40 years. Now new research indicates that lakes in New England and the Adirondack Mountains are recovering rapidly from the effects of acid rain. … > full story

     

    Saving trees in tropics could cut emissions by one-fifth, study shows
    (June 6, 2014) — Reducing deforestation in the tropics would significantly cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere — by as much as one-fifth — research shows. In the first study of its kind, scientists have calculated the amount of carbon absorbed by the world’s tropical forests and the amounts of greenhouse gas emissions created by loss of trees, as a result of human activity. … > full story

     

     

     

     

     

    Cap-And-Trade Could Be Cheaper Than Power Plant And Car Regulations, Study Finds

    By Katie Valentine on June 13, 2014

    The study did not examine the EPA’s new power plant rule specifically, but targeted similar emissions reductions scenarios.

     

    Obama on Obama on Climate

    Thomas Friedman NY Times JUNE 7, 2014

    WHEN it comes to dealing with the world’s climate and energy challenges I have a simple rule: change America, change the world. If America raises its clean energy standards, not only will others follow — others who have hid behind our inaction — we’ll also stimulate our industry to invent more of the clean air, clean power and energy efficiency systems, and move them down the cost curve faster, so U.S. companies will be leaders in this next great global industry and American consumers will be the first to benefit. That is why the new Environmental Protection Agency rules President Obama proposed last week to curb carbon emissions from power plants are so pivotal. You can’t make power systems greener without making them smarter — smarter materials, software or design. One new ruling will not change the world — and we have to be careful that this one doesn’t replace our addiction to coal with an addiction to natural gas alone. But coming at a time when clean energy technologies are becoming more competitive, and when awareness of climate change is becoming more pervasive, this E.P.A. ruling should give a real boost to clean power and efficiency innovation and make our country more resilient, healthy, secure — and respected. Several weeks ago, as he was drawing up these new emission rules, I interviewed President Obama in the White House library about climate and energy. Following are highlights. (The interview is also featured in the final episode of Showtime’s climate series, “Years of Living Dangerously” airing on Monday.)….

     

    On Climate Change, Obama Is Finally Leading From the Front

    By Will Oremus Slate.com June 9, 2014

    It happened when New York Times columnist Tom Friedman interviewed the president for tonight’s season finale of Years of Living Dangerously, the Showtime series about climate change. The episode airs Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern, but Friedman offered a preview of the president’s remarks in the Times on Saturday. It’s well worth reading [see above]. From a policy standpoint, the takeaway is that the president explicitly called for a price on carbon. It’s something he has been reluctant to do ever since a bipartisan climate bill died in Congress in 2010. From the Times:

     

     

    ‘Science Is Science’: Obama Embraces Price On Carbon, Leaving Fossil Fuels In The Ground

    By Joe Romm on June 8, 2014

    President Obama makes some candid remarks on climate change in an interview with NY Times columnist Tom Friedman, airing Monday in the final episode of Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously.” …

     

    Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

    Social science is being militarised to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and protest movements

    Nafeez Ahmed Reuters June 12, 2014

    The Pentagon is funding social science research to model risks of “social contagions” that could damage US strategic interests. Photograph: Jason Reed/REUTERS

    A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

    Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

    Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”

    Twitter posts and conversations will be examined “to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised.”

     

    Fighting for green power – who controls it, who gets it

    Gregory Staple and Robert Collier

    June 9, 2014 | Updated: June 9, 2014 6:10pm

    California’s world-renowned leadership on renewable energy masks a bitter fight over who will control green power. Will it be the state’s three major utilities, or millions of consumers and businesses who want more clean electricity but are prevented from buying it by outdated rules?

    This old-fashioned struggle over energy is being camouflaged by a new debate over consumer choice.

    The immediate focus is a little-noticed bill, AB2145, which passed the Assembly in May and is now before the state Senate. The bill would curb the right of local governments to buy clean power for their residents, as Marin and Sonoma counties now do, by requiring that each affected consumer individually opt in. Under the 2002 law that authorized community choice aggregation, these buying groups work on an opt-out basis. That frustrates consumer choice, say supporters of the bill….

     

    California officials developing framework for sustainable groundwater management

    Pauline Bartolone  Thursday, June 05, 2014 | Sacramento, CA | Capitol Public Radio play

    California state officials are working on a five-year plan they hope will lead to better local management of underground water supplies. The state says groundwater levels are in alarming decline, and that must be reversed.

    In times of drought, more water is pulled from the ground. A number of government agencies are generating a proposal to make sure that over years of use and replenishment, there’s adequate supply of groundwater. “A number of local basins do have management, but we don’t have a statewide framework for that,” says Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She says the current proposal supports local authorities in devising their own management plans, but the state would intervene if need be. “If because of at the local level you just don’t have the political will, or there’s too many conflicts to come to a collaborative solution, the state will step in.”  says Ross. Ross says usually groundwater accounts for about 30% of water use. This year, it amounts to about 60 percent. Two bills calling for sustainable groundwater management are making their way through the California legislature.  Ross says groundwater management was first considered 30 years ago.

     

     

    ACWA releases report on regional impacts of 2014 drought; Local vulnerabilities and strategies for resilience outlined

    By Maven June 10, 2014

    The statewide Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today released a report detailing specific impacts of the drought around the state and underscoring the need for a variety of strategies and actions to improve the resiliency of the state’s water system. The report, developed by a statewide Drought Action Group formed by ACWA in January, comes as California enters the hot summer months of one of the driest years on record. The report identifies impacts across a range of sectors and provides a bottom-up look at vulnerabilities created by the drought. It also details specific near-term projects that will shore up water supply reliability locally and regionally. In addition to chronicling the regional impacts of the drought, the report outlines 10 key recommendations that would create greater resiliency in California’s water system…..The recommendations, approved by the ACWA Board of Directors May 30, call for the following:

    • Funding and technical assistance for shovel-ready water infrastructure projects;
    • New surface and groundwater storage to help address the state’s groundwater challenges;
    • Use of real-time data by state and federal agencies to allow greater flexibility under existing laws to maximize water supplies from the Delta;
    • Exploration of opportunities to further streamline water transfers ;
    • Expedited approval of regulations or permits that encourage innovative technologies including water recycling and desalination;
    • State collaboration with local agencies to more closely coordinate planning documents in drought conditions ;
    • Funding and technical support to help local agencies  develop long-term water infrastructure projects that will help ensure reliable water supplies;
    • Disbursement of approved drought emergency funding as well as the development of additional funding, including through a 2014 water bond, for projects and programs that will improve California’s aging water infrastructure and further the coequal goals;
    • Funding for water-use efficiency activities in disadvantaged communities and support for programs that are not locally cost effective but contribute to broad benefits for California;
    • Review of the state’s overall 2014 drought response to look for opportunities to improve coordination for future dry conditions or extreme weather events.

    ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 430 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com.

     

     

    NOAA Announces Updated Process for Nominating New National Marine Sanctuaries
    June 10, 2014

    Today at Capitol Hill Ocean Week, John Podesta announced that NOAA will be publishing a final rule re-establishing the process by which the American public can nominate nationally significant marine and Great Lakes areas as potential new national marine sanctuaries. We’re taking this step to address the growing number of requests for new national marine sanctuaries.  …And your nearly 18,000 comments on the proposed rule, published in June 2013, vastly favor this move. NOAA’s statutory mandate to identify, designate and protect marine areas of special national significance has existed since 1972 through the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. In 1995, the agency deactivated its sanctuary nomination process (known as the Site Evaluation List, or SEL) so that ONMS could focus on management of the existing sanctuary system. Since then, numerous individuals and entities – Members of Congress, state and tribal governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and others – have inquired about designating a national marine sanctuary in a variety of coastal communities.  Now, for the first time in 19 years, the SEL, which tended to be an agency-driven, “top-down” approach to sanctuary nominations, will be replaced by the sanctuary nomination process, which is based on a more grassroots, “bottom-up” approach. Notably, while this action allows communities from around the country to nominate their most treasured areas as national marine sanctuaries, it does not guarantee sanctuary designation, nor does it add new regulations to areas in the marine or Great Lakes. This is your opportunity to protect your treasured places and ensure that they, and the resources contained within, are conserved for generations to come. We encourage your participation and look forward to your continued engagement.  For more information, check out  sanctuaries.noaa.gov/management/nomination/.

     

     

    Gray wolf wins endangered status in California

    Ruling controversial; commission rejects listing great white sharks

    By Peter Fimrite June 4, 2014 | Updated: June 4, 2014 4:59pm

    U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, AP

    State officials’ recommendation against deeming the gray wolf endangered was ultimately rejected. The path for the eventual return of the gray wolf to the Golden State was paved Wednesday when the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list the predator under the California Endangered Species Act, a decision that went against the recommendation of state wildlife officials.

    The 3-to-1 vote by the commission, which could have a profound effect on wildlife management in the state, came amid reports Wednesday that a remote camera in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, in southwestern Oregon, has detected at least two puppies apparently fathered by the storied wolf known as OR7, the lonely lobo who recently traveled into California and has been skirting the border ever since…..

     

     

     

    Tom Steyer’s slow, and ongoing, conversion from fossil-fuels investor to climate activist

    By Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, Published: June 8 2014 Washington Post

    At the base of the mountain, Tom Steyer was a billionaire hedge-fund manager with oil and gas investments and a seemingly conflicted conscience. But by the time he and environmentalist Bill McKibben finished a hike up two tall Adirondacks peaks on that summer day in 2012, Steyer had revealed that he was ready to change his life — he would unload his investments in fossil fuels and become an activist in the fight against global warming. Just two years later, Steyer, 56, has become the environmental hero he set out to be, giving the left its own billionaire donor to counter the powerful Koch brothers on the right. Steyer has vowed to spend up to $100 million in 2014 to help elect Democrats who are committed to fighting global warming. And with an eye on playing a similar role in the 2016 presidential race, he has positioned himself as a potent new force in the growing world of big-money donors. Yet, though Steyer has described his newfound activism as “my personal version of a ‘Paul on the road to Damascus’ moment,” his conversion has been more of a slow evolution — and it is still ongoing…..

    He told students at the University of California at Santa Barbara last month that he left his firm because he saw global warming as a defining challenge for his generation, just as World War II was for a previous one.

    “If it doesn’t change, we are completely screwed,” Steyer said, exhorting the audience to action. “What we have to do is push to make the change. . . . And that’s actually why I quit my job — to try to be one of the pains in the ass.”…. Steyer’s move into big-money politics would not be possible had he not reaped a fortune in part through fossil-fuel investments. A native New Yorker who graduated from Yale and got an MBA from Stanford, he moved aggressively and quickly into the world of money management. He named his new hedge fund, Farallon, after a group of islands off the Northern California coast favored by sharks. Farallon would become one of the largest and most successful hedge funds in the world..

     

    Dear Millennials, We’re Sorry

    By FRANK BRUNI NY Times Opinion June 7, 2014

    How dare we malign kids or pretend to care about them when our habits and spending endanger their future.

     

    Interests, Ideology And Climate

    Paul Krugman NY Times JUNE 8, 2014

    There are three things we know about man-made global warming. First, the consequences will be terrible if we don’t take quick action to limit carbon emissions. Second, in pure economic terms the required action shouldn’t be hard to take: emission controls, done right, would probably slow economic growth, but not by much. Third, the politics of action are nonetheless very difficult. But why is it so hard to act? Is it the power of vested interests? I’ve been looking into that issue and have come to the somewhat surprising conclusion that it’s not mainly about the vested interests. They do, of course, exist and play an important role; funding from fossil-fuel interests has played a crucial role in sustaining the illusion that climate science is less settled than it is. But the monetary stakes aren’t nearly as big as you might think. What makes rational action on climate so hard is something else — a toxic mix of ideology and anti-intellectualism. Before I get to that, however, an aside on the economics.

    I’ve noted in earlier columns that every even halfway serious study of the economic impact of carbon reductions — including the recent study paid for by the anti-environmental U.S. Chamber of Commerce — finds at most modest costs. Practical experience points in the same direction. Back in the 1980s conservatives claimed that any attempt to limit acid rain would have devastating economic effects; in reality, the cap-and-trade system for sulfur dioxide was highly successful at minimal cost. The Northeastern states have had a cap-and-trade arrangement for carbon since 2009, and so far have seen emissions drop sharply while their economies grew faster than the rest of the country. Environmentalism is not the enemy of economic growth.

    But wouldn’t protecting the environment nonetheless impose costs on some sectors and regions? Yes, it would — but not as much as you think….

     

     

     

     

     

    Forging new ground in oil forensics: Deepwater Horizon Oil on shore even years later, after most has degraded

    June 12, 2014

    Years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill, oil continues to wash ashore as oil-soaked ‘sand patties,’ persists in salt marshes abutting the Gulf of Mexico, and questions remain about how much oil has been deposited on the seafloor. Scientists have developed a unique way to fingerprint oil, and have successfully identified Macondo Well oil, even after most of it has degraded…

     

    Tar Sands Development Is Killing Birds, New Study Finds

    By Katie Valentine on June 13, 2014

    More than 292 species of protected bird species rely on the boreal forest for breeding habitat, but tar sands development is destroying it. The report, published by the National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Council of Maine, outlines the risks Canadian tar sands development poses to migratory birds. More than 292 species of protected birds rely on the boreal forest for breeding habitat, including the endangered whooping crane, and at least 130 of those are threatened by tar sands development. In all, according to the report, 22 million to 170 million birds use the boreal forest region as a breeding grounds, and that tar sands development’s impact on the region has resulted in the loss of 58,000 to 402,000 birds.…..

     

     

    Two Years Early, Wisconsin Hits Goal To Get 10 Percent Of Its Electricity From Renewables

    By Emily Atkin on June 13, 2014

    The state met its goal for renewable energy use two years before it was supposed to. …

     

    Is Africa’s Oldest Park Finally Safe From Oil Drillers?

    By Joanna M. Foster on June 12, 2014

    In a surprise move, British oil giant Soco announced this week that it would stop exploring for oil in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

     

     

    How To Save Time, Money, Energy, And Carbon Emissions While Drying Your Clothes

    By Ari Phillips June 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm Updated: June 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    CREDIT: shutterstock

    With politicians, industry leaders, and lobbyists engaged in a heated debate over the EPA’s recently released carbon emissions proposal for power plants, it’s good to take a step back to consider the relatively simple actions that can be made at a personal level to address energy and environmental issues. A new report released Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows how U.S. homes are wasting up to $4 billion worth of electricity annually — and emitting roughly 16 million tons of carbon dioxide — just because they are drying their clothes inefficiently.

    The report states that a typical clothes dryer can consume as much energy as a new energy efficient refrigerator, clothes washer, and dishwasher combined — and that Americans could save billions of dollars and millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions simply by switching to the type of efficient models currently used in other countries. It also calls on a strong federal energy efficiency standard to promote long-term energy savings….

     

     

     

     
     

     


     
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The National Wildlife Federation’s Climate Smart Conservation – Putting Adaptation Principles Into Practice looks at how climate change already is affecting the nation’s wildlife and habitats, and addresses how natural resource managers will need to prepare for and adapt to these unprecedented changes. Developed by a broad collaboration of experts from federal, state, and non-governmental institutions, the guide offers practical steps for crafting conservation actions to enhance the resilience of the natural ecosystems on which wildlife and people depend.

     

    A Multi-Benefit Approach to Flood Protection in California’s Central Valley New website!

    Multi-Benefit Flood Protection Project: Multi-benefit projects are designed to reduce flood risk and enhance fish and wildlife habitat by allowing rivers and floodplains to function more naturally. These projects create additional public benefits such as protecting farms and ranches, improving water quality, increasing groundwater recharge, and providing public recreation opportunities, or any combination thereof.

     

    Nature’s Value in Santa Clara County

    As you may know, the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority joined with Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County to launch a landmark multi-county research effort in 2011 to identify and quantify ecosystem services in the S.F. Bay Region.  The purpose of the effort was to help us understand and communicate the economic value of our region’s natural capital and the many benefits provided by natural and working lands.  ….   We are pleased to provide you with the first of 3 County-level reports from the Healthy Lands & Healthy Economies Initiative -
    Nature’s Value in Santa Clara County
    . 

     

    WEBINARS:

    Communicating about Climate Change – From Impacts to Solutions
    June 23, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT)

    Americans are waking up to the reality of extreme weather events are beginning to connect the dots to climate disruption. Effectively engaging the public as partners in addressing the challenge requires emphasizing local, current and personally relevant impacts and bridging to solutions. Join environmental communications expert Cara Pike and Executive Director of Climate Access, for a discussion of the latest trends in public opinion poling, how to frame the climate conversation, and best practices in climate engagement. 

    Cara Pike, Director, Climate Access

    Register

     

     

    2014 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Climate College- final lass

    Climate Change Adaptation Case Studies June 26, 2014 1-3 pm PT

    Place:              State Resources Building, 11th floor (conference room 1131)

                            1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

    BACKGROUND:

    CDFW will be holding the final class of its 2014 Climate College.  This class will finish off previous discussions on physical changes to marine systems and associated ecological impacts from the effects of climate change with a focus on adaptation case studies.  Joining us will be Dr. Liz Whiteman from California Ocean Sciences Trust, and Debbie Aseltine-Nielson from CDFW.  This course focuses on how climate change affects the state’s marine resources to enhance participants’ understanding of marine-related climate change science, impacts to species and habitats, and the implications for marine region management and planning.  The course describes California’s unique challenges and opportunities in managing its 1,100 miles of coastline, bays/estuaries, and marine protected areas under climate impacts. We encourage all who are interested to participate either in person or via WebEx.  Please check this web page for updates:

    HOW TO ENROLL: Online E-mail Enrollment Form
    Remote Users please use this link

     

     

    UPCOMING CONFERENCES: 

     

    North America Congress for Conservation Biology Meeting. July 13-16, Missoula, MT. The biennial NACCB provides a forum for presenting and discussing new research and developments in conservation science and practice for addressing today’s conservation challenges.

    First Stewards
    July 21-23, Washington, DC.

    First Stewards will hold their 2nd annual symposium at the National Museum of the American Indian. This year’s theme is
    United Indigenous Voices Address Sustainability: Climate Change and Traditional Places

    99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
    Sacramento, California  August 10-15, 2014 
    http://www.esa.org/sacramento

     

    California Adaptation Forum 
    August 19-20, 2014
    . SACRAMENTO, CA

    This two-day forum will build off a successful National Adaptation Forum held in Colorado in 2013. The attendance of many California leaders there underscored the need for a California-focused event, which will be held every other year to complement the biennial national conference.  To register go to:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/886364449

    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.

     

    ***SAVE THE DATE!!***  Sponsored by the CA LCC and CA Dept. of Water Resources

    Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workshop September 23rd, 2014 @ California State University, Sacramento
     

    Registration will open in June 2014. Check the California LCC website for details in later June at http://californialcc.org/

    The CA LCC, DWR and co-sponsors will host a one-day workshop for state and federal agency staff, NGOs, and Tribes with interest in how Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) can help ensure resilient and sustainable natural landscapes for California in the face of climate change and other ecological stressors. Participants will learn from Tribal instructors about what TEK is, how it has been cross-walked with Western science to gain valuable insights about species and ecological cycles, and how to talk with Tribes about TEK. Attendees will come away with an increased understanding of TEK and indigenous peoples of California, and how we can work together in the future.

     

    UC California Naturalist Statewide Conference October 17-19, 2014   Asilomar State Park, Pacific Grove, CA

    Explore Nature. Build Community. Take Action.

    The UC California Naturalist Program, the 2014 conference planning committee, our conference sponsors, and the Pacific Grove CA Naturalists invite you to Asilomar Conference Grounds for our inaugural statewide conference! This conference is designed for and by the California Naturalist community, but everyone is welcome to attend (Press release here for distribution). The biennial UC California Naturalist Conference provides a forum for presenting and discussing new research and developments in natural history, stewardship, citizen science, global change, environmental education, and interpretation for addressing California’s environmental challenges. Together we will celebrate California State Park’s 150th year of providing inspiration and education for the people of California — all in the heart of beautiful Asilomar State Park!

    Friday, Oct. 17
    Advanced Trainings and Opening Reception

    Saturday, Oct. 18
    Concurrent & Plenary Talks; Poster Presentations & Reception

    Sunday, Oct. 19
    Field Trips

     

     


    National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation
    October 23-24,2014 Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Washington,DC

    Together Toward Tomorrow–Conservation, Partners, and Landscapes — Call for Proposals: Dedicated Sessions, Presentations and Posters
    due by 5:00 pm PDT (8:00 pm EDT), JUNE 27, 2014
    .

    Conservation innovation is woven through our nation’s heritage. It is today and will be for decades and centuries to come an essential element of our future. Large landscape collaborative conservation is a fresh approach to the conservation challenges of the 21st century, linking public, private, non- profit and academic resources in novel, strategic, and enduring ways. Join conservation practitioners and policy makers from across North America in Washington, DC for this two-day event, October 23-24, 2014. Share ideas on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in implementing large landscape conservation, as well as the most effective tools, strategies and science available to inform large landscape initiatives. Workshop Organizing Partners include: American Fisheries Society, American Ornithologists’ Union, Landscape Conservation Cooperative, USDA – Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA- Bureau of Land Management, US Fish & Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, US Geological Survey, and the US National Park Service…addressing a number of critical questions facing the large landscape conservation community, including:

    •   How can mitigation at the landscape scale foster land conservation and economic development?

    •   How can we effectively invest for measurable results and environmental resiliency in the context of climate change?

    •   How can we, across the continuum from urban areas to wilderness areas, engage diverse communities in the green spaces outside their doors?

    •   How can we leverage advanced technologies and innovative financing tools to dramatically advance the practice of large landscape conservation?

     
     

     

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

     

     

    • Please spread the word about an exciting opportunity at EDF to help us develop the Central Valley Habitat Exchange and pursue other opportunities to bring habitat markets to scale.  If you have any questions about the position, let me know.  And if you have networks where you can post this, it would be much appreciated.

       

    • The National Park Service Klamath and Pacific Island Network Program Manager positions are now open. They are Interdisciplinary Supervisory GS-12/13 positions. Please distribute this announcement widely to anyone who may be interested. The announcement number is: PWROPI-14-I&M-1118179 DE/MP

     

    • CA OCEAN PROTECTION COUNCIL—MPA STAFF PERSON, OCEAN ACIDIFICATION STAFF PERSON

      The California Natural Resources Agency and the Ocean Protection Council are recruiting for two vacancies. One position will likely serve as the staff lead on marine protected area (MPA) management. The other will likely serve as the staff lead on the issues of ocean acidification and hypoxia. For both positions, the ideal candidate will be willing and able to work on the wide variety of issues under the responsibility of the Ocean Protection Council. Applicants must be eligible for hire from the Coastal Program Analyst I or II lists. Applications will be considered on a continuous basis; therefore, interested applicants are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. For more information, please visit: https://www.jobs.ca.gov/ and choose “Resources Agency” in the search function under “Department”. Please note that a Statement of Qualifications is required in addition to an Employment Application (STD 678) and resume.

     

     

     

     

     

    • OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

     

    Google’s Eyes in the Sky
    Friday, June 13, 2014, at 11:38 AM EDT
    Its drones and satellites could do for the physical world what its search engine did for the Web.

     

    Three Ways Climate Change Is Going To Ruin Your Beer

    By Ryan Koronowski June 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm Updated: June 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Water is beer’s primary ingredient, and brewers are worried about having enough.

    In 2011, it took brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev 3.5 barrels of water to produce 1 barrel of beer. Due to concerns over drought and shrinking water supplies, the world’s largest brewer set a goal to drop that number to 3.25 barrels by 2012. It met that goal, and this week, Pete Kraemer, the company’s vice president for supply said that they had shrunk that number down to 3.15 barrels, with plans to drop it still further. For context, their plant in Houston alone produces 12 million barrels of beer each year. The drought in California already has breweries that rely on the Russian River for water scrambling to find new sources, like a reverse osmosis system that’d purify groundwater, or picking up stakes and moving to Chicago. Most of the water used to make beer does not make it into beer bottles — it ends up as wastewater, which in turn requires energy to treat…

     

    Probiotics prevent deadly complications of liver disease, study finds
    (June 6, 2014) — Probiotics are effective in preventing hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis of the liver, according to a new study. The investigators conducted trial with cirrhosis patients who showed risk factors for hepatic encephalopathy, but had yet to experience an obvious episode. When comparing treatment with probiotics versus placebo, the researchers found that the incidence of hepatic encephalopathy was lower in patients treated with probiotics. … > full story

    Estimated risk of breast cancer increases as red meat intake increases, study suggests

    Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:52 PM PDT

    Higher red meat intake in early adulthood might be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and women who eat more legumes — such as peas, beans and lentils — poultry, nuts and fish might be at lower risk in later life, suggests a paper.

     

     

     

     

     


     

     


     

     

    9 Political Cartoons That Put Climate Change In Perspective

    The Huffington Post  | By Katherine Brooks Posted: 06/07/2014 1:12 am EDT Updated: 06/07/2014 1:59 am EDT

    Last month, the Niels Bugge Cartoon Award asked illustrators and cartoonists from around the world to submit drawings based on a basic theme: climate. “Oceans are in our hands,” the contest proclaimed, urging participants from 75 countries to put forth their best (and satirical) interpretation of the singular global concern. “Human beings, as all life on earth, came from the stars and landed through the ocean,” the contest solicitation read. “Ocean is our very first foster mother, much more than the land where we now cut trees and plant transgenic corn. But, as we maltreat land, we have been maltreating our spring of life and now oceans are quite ill because of our activities: less fish but more plastic, less pure water but more oil, less coral but more garbage. That’s why today, not tomorrow, we must do our best to save oceans of ourselves if we still want to have a future on this planet.” In response, the international competition received over 1,000 entries, sent from everywhere from Iran, China, Syria, the U.S. and the host country, Denmark. They, in typical political cartoon fashion, seem to perfectly unfold the issue of climate change, encapsulating the issues and feelings wrapped up in discussions of humans’ impact on our planet. Behold, 9 cartoons that put climate change in perspective. [Here are some—click on link for the rest]

    • Andrei Popov (Russia)

      Bruce Mackinnon (Canada)

    • Felipe Galindo (USA)

    Doodle 4 Google 2014 – US Winner

    June 9, 2014

    For our 7th annual Doodle 4 Google competition, we asked kids, grades K-12, to draw an invention that would make the world a better place. Out of more than 100,000 submissions, 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and 5 national age group winners, we are excited to present the 2014 Doodle 4 Google winner: 11-year old Audrey Zhang of New York!


    “To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier. It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively transforms the water into clean, safe and sanitary water, when humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life.” – Audrey Zhang, 11

     

    We quickly lost count of all the delightful elements of Audrey’s doodle. So in the spirit of this year’s theme, we asked Audrey to spend a day with the doodlers to turn her illustration into a moving animation. As an animator and director for a day, she made sure we twinkled each light and cleaned the water just right and took extra care for the  illustration’s dragons—about whom she is also writing a novel.   We encourage you to
    take a look at the outstanding national grade group winners
    , who we announced at an event with all 50 state winners at the Googleplex….

     


    ————

    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.

     

  8. New EPA Policy to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions 30% by 2013 from 2005 Levels

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    US unveils sweeping plan to slash power plant pollution

    Reuters 

     - June 2, 2014‎

           

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. power sector must cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, according to federal regulations unveiled on Monday that form the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate change strategy. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal is one of the most significant environmental rules proposed by the United States, and could transform the power sector, which relies on coal for nearly 38 percent of electricity. It also set off a political backlash likely to run well into next year. Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, said on Monday that between 2020 and 2030, the amount of carbon dioxide the proposal would reduce would be more than double the carbon pollution from the entire U.S. power sector in 2012.

    States will have flexible means to achieve ambitious but attainable targets, regardless of their current energy mixes. States which rely heavily on coal-fired power plants are thought to have the toughest tasks ahead. “The flexibility of our Clean Power Plan affords states the choices that lead them to a healthier future. Choices that level the playing field, and keep options on the table, not off,” McCarthy said in remarks at EPA headquarters on Monday.

    The plan had come under pre-emptive attack from business groups and many Republican lawmakers as well as Democrats from coal-heavy states like West Virginia before it was unveiled.

    But the 645-page plan looked less restrictive than some had feared, with targets easier to reach because emissions had already fallen by about 10 percent by 2013 from the 2005 baseline level, partly due to retirement of coal plants in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas. The plan gives states multiple options to achieve their emission targets, such as improving power plant heat rates; using more natural gas plants to replace coal plants; ramping up zero-carbon energy, such as solar or nuclear; and increasing energy efficiency.

    States can also use measures such as carbon cap-and-trade systems as a way to meet their goals. Share prices for major U.S. coal producers like Arch Coal, Peabody Energy and Alpha Natural Resources closed at or near multi-year lows on Monday.

    Monday’s rules cap months of outreach by the EPA and White House officials to an array of interests groups. The country’s roughly 1,000 power plants, which account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions, face limits on carbon pollution for the first time. Climate change is a legacy issue for President Barack Obama, who has struggled to make headway on foreign and domestic policy goals since his re-election. But major hurdles remain. The EPA’s rules are expected to stir legal challenges on whether the agency has overstepped its authority. A 120-day public comment period follows the rules’ release. The National Association of Manufacturers, a long-time EPA foe, argued on Monday that the power plant plan was “a direct threat” to its members’ competitiveness.

    The electric utility industry, encompassing plants that use resources from coal and natural gas to wind was more circumspect about the plan.

    “While the 2030 reduction target is ambitious, it appears that utilities may be allowed to take advantage of some of their early actions,” the Edison Electric Institute said….

     

     

    4 key takeaways from EPA’s new rules for power plants National Geographic News June 2 2014

    What’s also striking about the rules is that for all the ambition they represent—and the plan for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 is ambitious—they also appear designed to lock in carbon reductions that have been under way for years. ….It could be up to 15 years before the EPA’s vision is fully realized, as states will have time to hammer out implementation plans and carry them out. But crucial decisions made over the next three years will help determine how the nation’s energy picture will change. For some states, the plan represents a continuation of business as usual; for others, it will mean a significant and possibly painful overhaul of the status quo.

    Here are four key takeaways from the plan that the EPA announced Monday:

    The United States is well on the way to meeting the goal of cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent. In setting the baseline for reductions at the 2005 emissions levels, the EPA is being less aggressive than it could have been. Emissions levels have been falling for years in the United States, thanks in part to the fracking boom that has boosted a nationwide shift to cleaner-burning natural gas, and to the 2008 recession, which depressed energy demand….

    It’s not a great day for coal, but it’s not an immediate death knell. The EPA rules add to challenges that the coal industry has been facing for years, but they do not mandate the closure of any plant or eliminate coal from the U.S. energy picture.That said, the rules will put pressure on the industry by making coal more expensive. The industry faces higher costs one way or another: It may meet emissions targets by upgrading equipment to reduce pollution that plants emit, or if a state decides to set a cap on carbon emissions and issue permits allowing plants to pollute up to certain levels, the plants essentially would be paying extra fees to pollute.

    A few states will have tough choices ahead. Many states, such as the nine Northeastern states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and those such as California that have been moving forward with clean energy alternatives, will need to forge ahead in the same direction they are already moving. But for coal-dependent states such as Kentucky and West Virginia, and for those that have not put any kind of targets for clean energy in place, meeting the standard will be a heavier lift…..The EPA noted in its plan that 47 states already have energy efficiency programs run by utilities, and 38 states have “renewable portfolio standards,” or explicit targets for boosting the share of solar and wind on the grid. The 12 states that do not have such standards likely face a longer road ahead….

    On their own, the new EPA rules won’t be enough to reduce climate change. However momentous Monday’s plan might be in the context of domestic U.S. policy to curb climate change, worldwide the plan has more symbolic value than real impact on greenhouse gas emissions. If implemented, the rules stand to keep 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere: a drop in the bucket compared with the 35.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide being emitted worldwide as of 2012.

    Even so, analysts say that the United States must take the lead on reducing emissions given upcoming international negotiations on climate that will look to developing nations, including China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, to make its own commitments toward reducing pollution. China, which has said it is exploring ways to reduce emissions, did not appear to have a reaction to the EPA plan…..Ladislaw said last week before the rules were released that whatever the United States does may not be ambitious enough but that its global leadership on the issue is important. “Which follows first: the ambition, or incremental building up of capability to shore up [political] support?” she asked. “I think that’s what we’ll learn over the next year.”

     

    Nearing a Climate Legacy

    By THE EDITORIAL BOARD New York Times June 2, 2014

    The greenhouse gas reductions required by the Obama administration’s proposed rule on power plants will not get the world to where it has to go to avert the worst consequences of climate change. But they are likely to be enormously beneficial: good for the nation’s health, good for technological innovation, good for President Obama’s credibility abroad, and, in time, good for the planet and future generations. The proposed rule — and the importance of this cannot be overstated — signals the end of an era in which polluters could dump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without penalty. It would set new emissions standards for America’s existing power plants, which generate 38 percent of the emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, and one-third of overall greenhouse gas emissions. The broad goal is to cut these emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. This means that many of the nation’s roughly 550 coal-fired power plants, which are much dirtier than plants powered by natural gas, will have to close or undergo expensive upgrades.

    The 2030 target is ambitious but hardly unattainable. Emissions from power plants have already fallen roughly 13 percent from the 2005 baseline partly because tougher rules on pollutants like mercury have forced some coal-fired plants to close or become more efficient and partly because cheap and cleaner natural gas is edging out coal as the fuel of choice among big generators. In other words, the country is almost halfway to its goal. A recent study by M.J. Bradley, a Boston consulting firm, showed that 100 of the largest power producers steadily reduced pollutants of all kinds, including carbon dioxide, between 2008 and 2012.

    If it withstands almost certain legal and legislative challenges, the rule also means that Mr. Obama’s pledge in Copenhagen in 2009 to cut America’s overall greenhouse gases by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 202o is well within reach. And it will give him leverage as he leads this country into the next round of global climate negotiations. World leaders will meet this fall in New York with an eye to producing ambitious new national emissions targets by next spring and, perhaps, a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015.

    Mr. Obama’s credibility will be enhanced by the fact that he has begun this process on his own, in the face of a hostile Congress. After a bill imposing a price on carbon that passed the House in 2009 found no takers in the Senate, Mr. Obama decided to invoke executive powers to impose the kinds of limits that Congress had refused to entertain. Two Supreme Court rulings have said he has the authority under the Clean Air Act to do so.

    The issue now is how tough the new standards can be and how they are to be achieved. The rule provides industry and the states — which, by law, share responsibility for carrying out the rule — with considerable flexibility. Each state will be given a reduction target tailored to its energy mix. States will be able to decide how best to meet their targets, using an array of strategies of their choosing — deploying more renewable energy sources like wind and solar and more natural gas, ramping up energy efficiency, creating regional cap-and-trade initiatives aimed at the greatest reductions at the lowest cost.

    Even so, Mr. Obama and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, have been accused of a power grab, of governing by fiat, of declaring a war on coal. Jobs will indeed be lost in coal country and costs imposed on industry. But, over time, these jobs are likely to be replaced by new jobs created by the retrofitting of much of the current energy delivery system and by the expansion of alternative energy sources. And because the rule will also greatly reduce harmful toxic pollutants, the costs will be more than offset by health savings — by a ratio of as much as $7 in savings to every $1 invested in cleaner energy. So far, Mr. Obama’s major environmental achievement has been a set of landmark fuel economy standards that will greatly reduce automotive carbon emissions and rested on essentially the same legal authority. This new rule is his last big chance to enlarge that legacy.

     

     

    Two Steps Remain Before Obama Can Claim A Genuine Climate Legacy

    By Joe Romm on June 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    The Obama Administration took the most serious step toward limiting carbon pollution of any in history. And besides its proposed rules for power plant carbon pollution, the White House has already helped bring about an explosion in solar and wind power, along with very strong fuel economy rules negotiated with the major automakers.

    But the grade the President merits for his climate policies to date is still an “I” for Incomplete until he takes two more major steps: regulate methane leaks from the natural gas production/delivery system and negotiate a serious international climate deal for the December 2015 climate talks in Paris.

    Let’s start with natural gas. On Monday, the EPA proposed a 25 percent cut in electric utility CO2 emissions by 2020 (vs 2005 levels). The proposal is flexible enough to allow that target to be achieved by replacing dirty coal power with a combination of energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, and, yes, natural gas.

    Fuel switching to natural gas is a sub-optimal strategy for a few reasons. We know that U.S. natural gas consumption must peak sometime between 2020 and 2030 to preserve a livable climate. So it makes little or no sense to spend any substantial amount of money on new natural gas production, delivery, and power systems simply to meet a near-term 2020 target.

    The best strategy is clearly transitioning straight to energy efficiency and renewables like solar and wind, technologies that are already cost-effective enough to hit the 25 percent target without any help from natural gas — especially since we already about half the way to the target. But much of the electric utility emissions reductions we have seen to date have come from replacing coal with gas power and much of the rest of the target will certainly be met the same way because our energy policy remains shortsighted.

    That brings us to the final problem with gas. Natural gas is mostly methane, and methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, some 86 times (to as much as 105 times) as effective at trapping greenhouse gases as CO2. So even very low leakage of methane from the natural gas system wipes out its advantages over coal power for decades. The recent scientific literature — based on actual measurements of methane — reveals that methane leakage is actually quite high.

    But the new EPA rules focus on power plants, by necessity, and so they don’t encompass the leaks in a methane production. Unfortunately, as a comprehensive 2014 Stanford study reconfirmed, “America’s natural gas system is leaky.” The news release explained, “A review of more than 200 earlier studies confirms that U.S. emissions of methane are considerably higher than official estimates.” So high, in fact, that, as I calculated at the time, “By The Time Natural Gas Has A Net Climate Benefit You’ll Likely Be Dead And The Climate Ruined.”….

    China is the world’s biggest emitter by far — and the fastest-growing in absolute terms. It has worked as hard behind the scenes is anybody to stop a global deal. But now it seems clear that they want to curtail coal consumption simply because air pollution has gotten out of hand. And there are signals coming from China that suggest they are looking at capping total carbon emissions some time in the 2020s. And, of course, the dangerous effects of climate change are becoming more obvious every year (to those whose heads aren’t stuck in the ground). And we are coming closer and closer to irreversible tipping points according to scientific observation and analysis, such as the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. On top of that, 2014 and then 2015 are poised to be the hottest years on record, if an El Niño forms this year. Given these unique confluence of circumstances, if Obama can’t leverage his policies and commitments to get a serious international deal, it will be prima facie evidence that he didn’t do enough. And future generations living with the multiple catastrophic impacts of a ruined climate will judge him, and all of us, as failures. And deservedly so.

     

    Will the EPA’s climate plan lead to a counterproductive fracking boom?

    June 4, 2014 George Zornick The Nation

    There’s little doubt the Obama administration’s big push to cut carbon pollution, announced this week, will lead to much less coal-fired power in the United States. That’s a good thing. But what if states instead turn to natural gas-powered electricity instead? That could be a disaster for the environment….

     

    Obama step forward on carbon undone by China’s steps back
    Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama is set to take his boldest step to halt the rise of the oceans and stop the warming of the planet. It won’t be enough unless the rest of the world follows.

     

     

    After Years of Gridlock on Climate Change, Obama is About to Play His Trump Card

    President Obama will use his executive authority to move forward on the most ambitious anti-global warming initiative of any U.S. president

    By Pema Levy Newsweek Filed: 5/30/14 at 8:21 AM  | Updated: 5/30/14 at 4:40 PM

    Step aside, Keystone XL pipeline. There’s a new, bigger climate battle about to take over Washington. With Congress in gridlock and climate change deniers still dominating the Republican Party, President Obama will use his executive authority to move forward on the most ambitious anti-global warming initiative of any U.S. president. On Monday, the administration will announce new carbon pollution standards for the nation’s more than 1,000 power plants which produce 40 percent of the country’s carbon pollution — making these plants the country’s number one producer of greenhouse gases causing climate change. A New York Times report Thursday said the new rules will call for a decrease of 20 percent of plants’ emissions by 2020, a significant amount.

    But like everything in Washington these days, the new rules won’t become final without a major fight, and both sides are preparing for war — in Congress, in the courts, at the state-level, even at the ballot box. “We see this as the pivotal battle on climate change,” David Goldston, Director of Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental group playing a leading role in the effort, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday. “For the first time, climate is going to be front and center as the national issue. And what that means, we think, is that when this battle is over and the power plant standards are in effect, climate will have turned into an ordinary environmental issue.” Once the standards are announced, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take comments on the proposal, make any revisions they see fit, and plan to announce a final rule in June 2015. The states will have a year after that to come up with their own plans to comply with the new standards. Throughout this process, Goldston hopes that the climate change issue will be “demystified”: politicians will learn not to fear it, Americans will come to expect action on it. The new standards, Goldston predicted, will “fundamentally change the political dynamic on climate change.”…

     

    Krugman: Climate Action Is ‘Remarkably Cheap,’ New EPA Rules Would Give ‘U.S. Economy A Boost’

    By Joe Romm on May 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    CREDIT: Shutterstock

    Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explains for the umpteenth time that climate action is super cheap — and that even the pro-pollution U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees.

    What would be the cost to the U.S. of moderate carbon pollution reductions, such as the emissions standards for existing power plants that the EPA will be announcing shortly? It’s a question that we always had to answer since, as everyone knows, EPA is legally obligated to issue rules regulating CO2 from existing power plants…. In his new column, Krugman repeats that point. “The U.S. economy is still depressed — and in a depressed economy many of the supposed costs of compliance with energy regulations aren’t costs at all,” he writes. “In particular, building new, low-emission power plants would employ both workers and capital that would otherwise be sitting idle, and would, if anything, give the U.S. economy a boost.” The Natural Resources Defense Council does the math in its recent economic analysis of the carbon rules, assuming they are written flexibly to encourage things like energy efficiency. NRDC finds that a well-designed rule “can save American households and business customers $37.4 billion on their electric bills in 2020 while creating more than 274,000 jobs.” This is a far more credible analysis then the one by the Chamber, not just because NRDC’s is actually consistent with the economic literature, but also because EPA appears to have been influenced by NRDC’s original proposals for how to do the rule flexibly.

     

     

    Morning Plum: Never mind 2014. Climate change will be big issue in 2016.

    By Greg Sargent Washington Post June 2 2014 at 9:09 am

    With the Obama administration today set to roll out ambitious new rules on carbon emissions from existing power plants, multiple news organizations are already noting that the new push could create political problems for vulnerable Dems in 2014. So it’s worth noting that Democrats see this as a much longer battle that will likely continue through the 2016 presidential race and beyond — posing long term risks to Republicans, too. It’s true that some vulnerable Dems, particularly in coal states, will likely distance themselves from the new regulations. But as Politico reports today, Dems actually see the short term politics of this as “manageable.” Similarly, Dem strategists told me recently that Dems in tough races will have to deal with the issue but for a number of reasons the risks will largely turn out to be hyped. But the long game may matter a whole lot more. To understand how some Dems see this, look back at this Pew poll from last fall. It shows that the very voter groups who could continue giving Dems a demographic edge in national elections — the same groups that Republicans must broaden their appeal among — overwhelmingly believe there is solid evidence of global warming:

    * 73% of those aged 18-29 believe it’s happening.

    * 76 percent of nonwhites believe it’s happening.

    * 67 percent of college educated whites believe its happening.

    Meanwhile, far more Republicans remain skeptical of global warming, but this is largely driven by Tea Party Republicans. While 61 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans believe there is solid evidence of global warming, only 25 percent of Tea Party Republicans believe this….

     

     

    Green States & Black States: Obama’s Climate Plan Paints U.S. in New Colors

    The administration wants to get enough states supporting its Clean Power Plan to color the map mostly low-carbon green, instead of coal black.

    By John H. Cushman Jr., InsideClimate News Jun 5, 2014

    At the core of Obama’s plan to control greenhouse gas emissions from more than 1,000 power plants is a strategy resembling that of a presidential campaign in search of electoral votes.

    The administration wants to get enough states on board to color the map mostly low-carbon green, instead of coal black.

    To that end, it has designed a policy that seems intended to isolate the fiercest pockets of resistance, winning over as many fence-sitting states as possible.

    That would make it harder for his opponents to paint this regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act as a heavy-handed federal intrusion.

    “It is going to be important to have a critical mass of states being supportive,” said Travis Madsen, a global warming campaigner at Environment America, a federation of state-based advocacy groups. “If too many states decide they will not cooperate, it’s hard to say what might happen. The more states cooperate or act supportively, the more likely we will succeed.”

    The greenest states would be California and most of those in the Northeast. With their cap-and-trade markets already up and running, these are the poster children for the highly flexible regulatory approach the EPA is pushing.

    Leaning their way are states like Oregon and Washington, which are already planning to join forces with California (and British Columbia) in a regional alliance of the kind the EPA is encouraging.

    Even states like Pennsylvania or Ohio might not balk if, together with their big power companies, they can figure out an advantageous path. A Kansas or an Iowa, where wind power is pushing ahead, or a place like sunny Nevada, where solar is making strides, could take on a greener tinge.

    The blackest states would be places like West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota and Wyoming, where dependence on coal is highest, alternatives are fewer and political opposition is red hot….

     

     

  9. Ecosystems Services- New Assessment of Global Value

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    Global Value of Ecosystem Services

     


    Changes in the global value of ecosystem services


    Highlights

    • Global loss of ecosystem services due to land use change is $US 4.3–20.2 trillion/yr.

    • Ecoservices contribute more than twice as much to human well-being as global GDP.

    • Estimates in monetary units are useful to show the relative magnitude of ecoservices.

    • Valuation of ecosystem services is not the same as commodification or privatization.

    • Ecosystem services are best considered public goods requiring new institutions.

    Abstract

    In 1997, the global value of ecosystem services was estimated to average $33 trillion/yr in 1995 $US ($46 trillion/yr in 2007 $US). In this paper, we provide an updated estimate based on updated unit ecosystem service values and land use change estimates between 1997 and 2011. We also address some of the critiques of the 1997 paper. Using the same methods as in the 1997 paper but with updated data, the estimate for the total global ecosystem services in 2011 is $125 trillion/yr (assuming updated unit values and changes to biome areas)
    and $145 trillion/yr (assuming only unit values changed), both in 2007 $US. From this we estimated the loss of eco-services from 1997 to 2011 due to land use change at $4.3–20.2 trillion/yr, depending on which unit values are used. Global estimates expressed in monetary accounting units, such as this, are useful to highlight the magnitude of eco-services, but have no specific decision-making context. However, the underlying data and models can be applied at multiple scales to assess changes resulting from various scenarios and policies. We emphasize that valuation of eco-services (in whatever units) is not the same as commodification or privatization. Many eco-services are best considered public goods or common pool resources, so conventional markets are often not the best institutional frameworks to manage them. However, these services must be (and are being) valued, and we need new, common asset institutions to better take these values into account.

     


    Putting a Price Tag on Nature’s Defenses



    JUNE 5, 2014 Carl Zimmer New York Times

    Coral reefs have proved valuable to coastal regions by helping to blunt shore erosion from storm waves. Credit Reuters

    After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the United States Army Corps of Engineers got to work on a massive network of levees and flood walls to protect against future catastrophes. Finally completed in 2012, the project ended up costing $14.5 billion — and that figure didn’t include the upkeep these defenses will require in years to come, not to mention the cost of someday replacing them altogether.

    But levees aren’t the only things that protect coasts from storm damage. Nature offers protection, too. Coastal marshes absorb the wind energy and waves of storms, weakening their impact farther inland. And while it’s expensive to maintain man-made defenses, wetlands rebuild themselves.

    Protection from storms is just one of many services that ecosystems provide us — services that we’d otherwise have to pay for. In 1997, a team of scientists decided to estimate how much they are actually worth. Worldwide, they concluded, the price tag was $33 trillion — equivalent to $48.7 trillion in today’s dollars. Put another way, the services ecosystems provide us — whether shielding us from storms, preventing soil erosion or soaking up the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming — were twice as valuable as the gross national product of every country on Earth in 1997.

    “We basically said, ‘It’s an imprecise estimate, but it’s almost definitely a pretty big number, and we’ve got to start paying attention,’” said Robert Costanza, a professor at Australian National University who led the study.

    That study proved to be hugely influential. Many governments, from Costa Rica to the United Kingdom, started to take the value of ecosystem services into account when they planned environmental policies. But the study also set off a lot of controversy. Some economists argued that it was based on bad economics, while some conservation biologists argued that price tags were the wrong way to save ecosystems.

    Seventeen years later, the debate is getting re-energized, just as the nation becomes immersed in an intense fight over the Obama administration’s attempt to tackle the emissions that scientists say could threaten many of these ecosystems. Dr. Costanza and his colleagues have now updated the 1997 estimate in a new study, published in the May issue of the journal Global Environmental Change, and concluded that the original estimate was far too low. The true value of the services of the world’s ecosystems is at least three times as high, they said.

    “As we learn more, these estimates increase,” Dr. Costanza said.

    That’s putting it mildly. The enormous rise in the price tag stems from hundreds of new studies carried out on ecosystems around the world. Taken as a whole, these studies reveal that ecosystems do more for us than Dr. Costanza and his colleagues could appreciate in 1997.

    Coral reefs, for instance, have proved to be much more important for storm protection than previously recognized. They also protect against soil erosion by weakening waves before they reach land. As a result, Dr. Costanza and his colleagues now consider the services provided by coral reefs to be 42 times more valuable than they did in 1997. They estimate that each acre of reef provides $995,000 in services each year for a total of $11 trillion worldwide.

    Most of the 17 services that Dr. Costanza and his colleagues analyzed in 16 different kinds of ecosystems — including tropical forests, mangroves and grasslands — also turned out to be more valuable. When they added up all their new figures, they came up with a global figure of $142.7 trillion a year (in 2014 dollars).

    But they also had to take into account the fact that many ecosystems have suffered since 1997. Many coral reefs, for example, have been dying off because of pollution and other human activities. Dr. Costanza and his colleagues estimate that the world’s reefs shrank from 240,000 square miles in 1997 to 108,000 in 2011.

    If coral reefs and other ecosystems were still as healthy as they were in 1997, the value of their services today would have been considerably higher: $165.8 trillion.

    In other words, deforestation and other damage we’ve inflicted on the natural world has wiped out $23 trillion a year in ecosystem services. To put that loss into perspective, consider that the gross domestic product of the United States is $16.2 trillion.

    “I think this is a very important piece of science,” said Douglas J. McCauley of the University of California, Santa Barbara. That’s particularly high praise coming from Dr. McCauley, who has been a scathing critic of Dr. Costanza’s attempt to put price tags on ecosystem services.

    This paper reads to me like an annual financial report for Planet Earth,” Dr. McCauley said. “We learn whether the dollar value of Earth’s major assets have gone up or down.”

    But even with the new calculations, Dr. McCauley still thinks valuing those assets with dollar figures is wrong. As ecosystems shrink or suffer degradation, they may be seen as less valuable — and thus less likely to be protected. “I think this approach to conservation is disingenuous and dangerous,” he said.

    Dr. McCauley is hardly alone. In the journal Conservation Letters, Matthias Schröter of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and his colleagues recently surveyed a number of objections that have been leveled against Dr. Costanza’s approach. Some scientists argue that it doesn’t make sense to look at ecosystems simply as providing us with good things. Ecosystems can also harbor diseases and harm us in other ways.

    As for his own view, Dr. Schröter said that Dr. Costanza’s method was a powerful way to communicate just how much we depend on nature — and just how much of it we’re destroying. “Time has run out,” Dr. Schröter said. “The message needs to get through that we lose something of crucial value every day.”

     


     

  10. Conservation Science News June 6 2014

    Leave a Comment

    Focus of the Week
    Global Value of Ecosystem Services- a new assessment —-and special section on new EPA carbon emissions regulations in POLICY below…

    1-ECOLOGY, BIODIVERSITY, RELATED

    2-CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTREME EVENTS

    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 the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative Newsletter or the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium listserve to receive this or you can email me directly at Ellie Cohen, ecohen at pointblue.org if you want your name added to or dropped from this list. 

    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- Global Value of Ecosystem Services

     


    Changes in the global value of ecosystem services


    Highlights

    • Global loss of ecosystem services due to land use change is $US 4.3–20.2 trillion/yr.

    • Ecoservices contribute more than twice as much to human well-being as global GDP.

    • Estimates in monetary units are useful to show the relative magnitude of ecoservices.

    • Valuation of ecosystem services is not the same as commodification or privatization.

    • Ecosystem services are best considered public goods requiring new institutions.

    Abstract

    In 1997, the global value of ecosystem services was estimated to average $33 trillion/yr in 1995 $US ($46 trillion/yr in 2007 $US). In this paper, we provide an updated estimate based on updated unit ecosystem service values and land use change estimates between 1997 and 2011. We also address some of the critiques of the 1997 paper. Using the same methods as in the 1997 paper but with updated data, the estimate for the total global ecosystem services in 2011 is $125 trillion/yr (assuming updated unit values and changes to biome areas)
    and $145 trillion/yr (assuming only unit values changed), both in 2007 $US. From this we estimated the loss of eco-services from 1997 to 2011 due to land use change at $4.3–20.2 trillion/yr, depending on which unit values are used. Global estimates expressed in monetary accounting units, such as this, are useful to highlight the magnitude of eco-services, but have no specific decision-making context. However, the underlying data and models can be applied at multiple scales to assess changes resulting from various scenarios and policies. We emphasize that valuation of eco-services (in whatever units) is not the same as commodification or privatization. Many eco-services are best considered public goods or common pool resources, so conventional markets are often not the best institutional frameworks to manage them. However, these services must be (and are being) valued, and we need new, common asset institutions to better take these values into account.

     


    Putting a Price Tag on Nature’s Defenses



    JUNE 5, 2014 Carl Zimmer New York Times

    Coral reefs have proved valuable to coastal regions by helping to blunt shore erosion from storm waves. Credit Reuters

    After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the United States Army Corps of Engineers got to work on a massive network of levees and flood walls to protect against future catastrophes. Finally completed in 2012, the project ended up costing $14.5 billion — and that figure didn’t include the upkeep these defenses will require in years to come, not to mention the cost of someday replacing them altogether.

    But levees aren’t the only things that protect coasts from storm damage. Nature offers protection, too. Coastal marshes absorb the wind energy and waves of storms, weakening their impact farther inland. And while it’s expensive to maintain man-made defenses, wetlands rebuild themselves.

    Protection from storms is just one of many services that ecosystems provide us — services that we’d otherwise have to pay for. In 1997, a team of scientists decided to estimate how much they are actually worth. Worldwide, they concluded, the price tag was $33 trillion — equivalent to $48.7 trillion in today’s dollars. Put another way, the services ecosystems provide us — whether shielding us from storms, preventing soil erosion or soaking up the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming — were twice as valuable as the gross national product of every country on Earth in 1997.

    “We basically said, ‘It’s an imprecise estimate, but it’s almost definitely a pretty big number, and we’ve got to start paying attention,’” said Robert Costanza, a professor at Australian National University who led the study.

    That study proved to be hugely influential. Many governments, from Costa Rica to the United Kingdom, started to take the value of ecosystem services into account when they planned environmental policies. But the study also set off a lot of controversy. Some economists argued that it was based on bad economics, while some conservation biologists argued that price tags were the wrong way to save ecosystems.

    Seventeen years later, the debate is getting re-energized, just as the nation becomes immersed in an intense fight over the Obama administration’s attempt to tackle the emissions that scientists say could threaten many of these ecosystems. Dr. Costanza and his colleagues have now updated the 1997 estimate in a new study, published in the May issue of the journal Global Environmental Change, and concluded that the original estimate was far too low. The true value of the services of the world’s ecosystems is at least three times as high, they said.

    “As we learn more, these estimates increase,” Dr. Costanza said.

    That’s putting it mildly. The enormous rise in the price tag stems from hundreds of new studies carried out on ecosystems around the world. Taken as a whole, these studies reveal that ecosystems do more for us than Dr. Costanza and his colleagues could appreciate in 1997.

    Coral reefs, for instance, have proved to be much more important for storm protection than previously recognized. They also protect against soil erosion by weakening waves before they reach land. As a result, Dr. Costanza and his colleagues now consider the services provided by coral reefs to be 42 times more valuable than they did in 1997. They estimate that each acre of reef provides $995,000 in services each year for a total of $11 trillion worldwide.

    Most of the 17 services that Dr. Costanza and his colleagues analyzed in 16 different kinds of ecosystems — including tropical forests, mangroves and grasslands — also turned out to be more valuable. When they added up all their new figures, they came up with a global figure of $142.7 trillion a year (in 2014 dollars).

    But they also had to take into account the fact that many ecosystems have suffered since 1997. Many coral reefs, for example, have been dying off because of pollution and other human activities. Dr. Costanza and his colleagues estimate that the world’s reefs shrank from 240,000 square miles in 1997 to 108,000 in 2011.

    If coral reefs and other ecosystems were still as healthy as they were in 1997, the value of their services today would have been considerably higher: $165.8 trillion.

    In other words, deforestation and other damage we’ve inflicted on the natural world has wiped out $23 trillion a year in ecosystem services. To put that loss into perspective, consider that the gross domestic product of the United States is $16.2 trillion.

    “I think this is a very important piece of science,” said Douglas J. McCauley of the University of California, Santa Barbara. That’s particularly high praise coming from Dr. McCauley, who has been a scathing critic of Dr. Costanza’s attempt to put price tags on ecosystem services.

    This paper reads to me like an annual financial report for Planet Earth,” Dr. McCauley said. “We learn whether the dollar value of Earth’s major assets have gone up or down.”

    But even with the new calculations, Dr. McCauley still thinks valuing those assets with dollar figures is wrong. As ecosystems shrink or suffer degradation, they may be seen as less valuable — and thus less likely to be protected. “I think this approach to conservation is disingenuous and dangerous,” he said.

    Dr. McCauley is hardly alone. In the journal Conservation Letters, Matthias Schröter of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and his colleagues recently surveyed a number of objections that have been leveled against Dr. Costanza’s approach. Some scientists argue that it doesn’t make sense to look at ecosystems simply as providing us with good things. Ecosystems can also harbor diseases and harm us in other ways.

    As for his own view, Dr. Schröter said that Dr. Costanza’s method was a powerful way to communicate just how much we depend on nature — and just how much of it we’re destroying. “Time has run out,” Dr. Schröter said. “The message needs to get through that we lose something of crucial value every day.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

    There may be multiple paths to fuel reduction in the wildland-urban interface
    (May 30, 2014) — Conservative fuel treatments designed to reduce fire severity while still providing forest cover and wildlife habitat worked equally as well as more intensive treatments in allowing for the protection of homes during the 2011 Wallow Fire, a study has found. The distance into the treated area where fire severity was reduced varied, however, between these different thinning approaches where fuels were reduced. … The study’s findings showed that fire severity was reduced as the fire moved from untreated to treated areas, evidenced by the fire transitioning from a crown fire to a ground fire. But the distance at which the reduction occurred differed, depending on the intensity of the fuel treatment. The Alpine treatment area, which was more intensively thinned, achieved a spatially rapid reduction in severity, while the Nutrioso area required a wider area, although reduction was achieved before the fire reached the adjacent community. This would suggest that the greater a fuel treatment’s emphasis on wildlife habitat and aesthetic considerations, the larger the size of treatment area needed to realize a reduction in fire severity. Both thinning prescriptions permitted firefighters to safely access the communities to extinguish fire starts and spot-protect homes.

    Our findings suggest that fuel treatments that promote wildlife habitat and aesthetics are still potentially successful in sufficiently reducing fire severity to provide opportunities to protect residences in the WUI during a fire,” said Kennedy. “Although this case study refers to just these treatments in this particular fire, it does point to the possibility that there are multiple paths to effective fuel treatments.”… > full story

     

    Maureen C. Kennedy, Morris C. Johnson. Fuel treatment prescriptions alter spatial patterns of fire severity around the wildland–urban interface during the Wallow Fire, Arizona, USA. Forest Ecology and Management, 2014; 318: 122 DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.01.014

     

    Notifying speeding mariners lowers ship speeds in areas with North Atlantic right whales
    (
    June 3, 2014) — There are only around 500 North Atlantic right whales alive today. In an effort to further protect these critically endangered animals, a recent NOAA regulation required large vessels to reduce speed in areas seasonally occupied by the whales. The policy of notifying — but not necessarily citing — speeding vessels in protected areas was effective in lowering their speeds, helping to protect these magnificent creatures from ship collisions, while keeping punitive fines to mariners to a minimum. … > full story

    Gregory K. Silber, Jeffrey D. Adams, Christopher J. Fonnesbeck. Compliance with vessel speed restrictions to protect North Atlantic right whales. PeerJ, 2014; 2: e399 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.399

    How do phytoplankton survive scarcity of critical nutrient?
    (June 5, 2014) — How do phytoplankton survive when the critical element phosphorus is difficult to find? Researchers conducted the most comprehensive survey of the content and distribution of a form of phosphorus called polyphosphate, or poly-P in the western North Atlantic. What they found was surprising. ..

    Rather than finding low levels of poly-P in the phytoplankton in the Sargasso Sea where P is scarce, they found the phytoplankton were enriched with poly-P when compared to those in the nutrient rich waters in the western North Atlantic — the opposite of what they had expected. They also found that in low-P environments, poly-P was more readily recycled from sinking particles, retaining it in shallower waters where phytoplankton live and making it available for their use.. > full story


    Sea Star Disease Epidemic Surges in Oregon, Local Extinctions Expected



    June 4, 2014 — Just in the past two weeks, the incidence of sea star wasting syndrome has exploded along the Oregon Coast and created an epidemic of historic magnitude, one that threatens to decimate Oregon’s … full story


    What a 66-Million-Year Old Forest Fire Reveals About the Last Days of the Dinosaurs


    June 5, 2014 — As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a researchers. During an expedition in southern … full story

    How red tide knocks out its competition
    (June 4, 2014) — New research reveals how the algae behind red tide thoroughly disables – but doesn’t kill – other species of algae. The study shows how chemical signaling between algae can trigger big changes in the marine ecosystem. The algae that form red tide in the Gulf of Mexico are dinoflagellates called Karenia brevis, or just Karenia by scientists. Karenia makes neurotoxins that are toxic to humans and fish. Karenia also makes small molecules that are toxic to other marine algae, which is what the new study analyzed. … > full story

    New global maps of livestock distribution
    (May 30, 2014) — New global maps of livestock distribution have been established by an international team of researchers. This study should help to measure the socio-economic, public health and environmental impacts of livestock and poultry, worldwide. The evaluation of multiple socio-economic, environmental and public health around the livestock sector requires accurate accessible and comprehensive spatial data on the distribution and abundance of livestock. … > full story

    Tracking animals on videos: Software able to identify and track a specific individual within a group
    (June 1, 2014) — It is easy to follow the route traced by an animal by using video recordings of the animal. The problem arises when the behavior of two or more individuals is studied, as animals often cross or interact with other members of the group and wrong assignments of identity for each animal occur. These faults make virtually impossible to identify an individual after several minutes of video. … > full story

     

    Animals Hug Trees to Stay Cool

    Discovery News 

     - June 4, 2014‎

           

    Hugging trees feels good and can even be healthy for many animals, according to a study in the latest issue of Biology Letters. There are several perks to being a tree hugger, but a surprising one is that trees help to regulate the hugger’s body temperature.

     

     

     

     

        

    Deep sea fish remove one million tons of carbon dioxide every year from UK and Irish waters
    (June 3, 2014) — Deep sea fishes remove and store more than one million tons of CO2 from UK and Irish surface waters every year, according to a new study. This natural carbon capture and storage scheme could store carbon equivalent to £10 million per year in carbon credits Fish living in deep waters on the continental slope around the UK play an important role carrying carbon from the surface to the seafloor. … > full story

     

     

    On the Move Because of Global Warming


    The southern migrant hawker dragonfly. Credit Jerry Hoare

    By THE NEW YORK TIMES June 2, 2014

    Light-colored species of butterflies and dragonflies in Europe like the heat, while dark-colored ones retreat northward to cooler areas. Because of climate change, lighter species are taking over areas once dominated by their darker counterparts, researchers report in the journal Nature Communications. Lighter insects can reflect sunlight more easily and prevent their bodies from overheating….

     
     

     

    In Norfolk, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide

    View Photo Gallery — Norfolk wrestles with rising waters, sinking options: Effects of climate change are visible every high tide, but federal help for costly fixes is hard to come by.

    By Lori Montgomery, Published: May 31, 2014 Washington Post

    NORFOLK — At high tide on the small inlet next to Norfolk’s most prestigious art museum, the water lapped at the very top of the concrete sea wall that has held it back for 100 years. It seeped up through storm drains, puddled on the promenade and spread, half a foot deep, across the street, where a sign read, “Road Closed.”

    The sun was shining, but all around the inlet people were bracing for more serious flooding. The Chrysler Museum of Art had just completed a $24 million renovation that emptied the basement, now accessible only by ladder, and lifted the heating and air-conditioning systems to the top floor. A local accounting firm stood behind a homemade barricade of stanchions and detachable flaps rigged to keep the water out. And the congregation of the Unitarian Church of Norfolk was looking to evacuate. … The city hired a Dutch consulting firm to develop an action plan, finalized in 2012, that called for new flood gates, higher roads and a retooled storm water system. Implementing the plan would cost more than $1 billion — the size of the city’s entire annual budget — and protect Norfolk from about a foot of additional water. As the city was contemplating that enormous price tag, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) last year delivered more bad news: If current trends hold, VIMS scientists said, by the end of this century, the sea in Norfolk would rise by 51 / 2 feet or more. “Clearly, we’ve got more work to do,” said Ron Williams Jr., Norfolk’s assistant city manager for planning.

    Options for dealing with the water are limited, and expensive. The city could protect itself with more barriers.
    Williams lamented, for instance, that a new $318 million light-rail system — paid for primarily with federal funds — was built at sea level. With a little foresight, he said, the tracks could have been elevated to create a bulwark against the tides. As it stands, the new rail system could itself be swept away, the money wasted. “Nowhere do we have resiliency built in,” he said….. A
    second option calls for people to abandon the most vulnerable parts of town, to “retreat somewhat from the sea,”
    as Mayor Paul D. Fraim put it in a 2011 interview, when he became the first sitting politician in the nation to raise the prospect. For now, Williams said, retreat is not on the table “on a large scale,” though “you may look at localized hot spots.” The Dutch consultants, Fugro Atlantic, recommended buying out properties in Spartan Village, a bowl-shaped neighborhood that flooded during a rainstorm in 2009.

    That leaves the third option: adaptation. Raising buildings, roads and other critical infrastructure. Last fall, the city council required all new structures to be built three feet above flood level, one of the strictest standards in the state. “People right now are having trouble getting their arms around what needs to be done. And no one can fathom what it’s going to cost,” said City Councilwoman Theresa Whibley, who represents many pricey waterfront neighborhoods, including the Hague, where the plan calls for floodgates to block the surging tide. … It’s not just Norfolk, Atkinson said. Much of the Eastern Shore would be underwater; Baltimore and Washington would be in trouble, too. “At five feet,” he said, “the Mall’s flooded.”

     

     

    Ticking time bomb? The expanding range of Lyme disease is driven by climate change; warming temperatures allow new populations of the tick vector, Ixodes scapularis, to establish themselves in regions that were once too cold. Now a new study quantifies the relationship between warmer temperatures and the tick’s expansion into Canada. Environmental Health Perspectives

     

    Summer flounder stirs north-south climate battle June 3 2014 Daily Climate

    The center of summer flounder population, recorded as far south as Virginia around 1970, is now off the New Jersey coast. Its migration has set the stage for battle between East Coast states on how to share the business of harvesting this tasty, lean fish – valued at $30 million per year commercially and untold millions more for the recreational fishing industry.

     

    Humans, not climate, to blame for Ice Age-era disappearance of large mammals, study concludes
    (June 4, 2014) — Was it humankind or climate change that caused the extinction of a considerable number of large mammals about the time of the last Ice Age? Researchers have carried out the first global analysis of the extinction of the large animals, and the conclusion is clear — humans are to blame. The study unequivocally points to humans as the cause of the mass extinction of large animals all over the world during the course of the last 100,000 years. … > full story

     

    Kiribati: life on a tiny island threatened by the rising sea – in pictures
    The Guardian

    Photographer Mike Bowers spent several weeks on Kiribati documenting life in the central Pacific island nation. It’s a nation with an average height above sea level of just two metres and a population density to rival London. Its future is under threat due to rising sea levels, increasingly saline arable land and contamination of the delicate freshwater lenses under the narrow atolls.

     

    ‘Climate Change Is Here’: Australia Experiences Hottest Two Years Ever Recorded

    By Emily Atkin on June 2, 2014 at 9:16 am

    The last two years in Australia have been the hottest ever recorded, and there’s no sign that the heat wave is going to stop any time soon, a report released Sunday showed. According to data compiled by Australia’s biggest crowd-funding campaign, the independent Climate Council,
    the period from May 2012 to April 2014 was the hottest 24-month period ever recorded in Australia. Next month, when the two-year period spans from June 2012 to May 2014, those above-average temperatures are expected to be even greater, the report said. “Climate change is here, it’s happening, and Australians are already feeling its impact,” Professor Will Steffen of the Climate Council told the Guardian on Sunday. “We have just had an abnormally warm autumn, off the back of another very hot ‘angry summer.’”….

     

    Is climate change to thank for recovery of acid rain’s ‘canary in the coal mine’ [red spruce]?
    New Hampshire Public Radio
    , New Hampshire June 2, 2014

    Red spruce, a tree species that researchers thought was doomed because of acid rain, is now growing faster than ever, and it’s not the only one. It hints that climate change producers winners as well as losers.

     

    Global warming may quintuple summer downpours in UK June 2, 2014 New Scientist

    By 2100 southern England will be drenched by five times as many sudden summer deluges as it is today, probably causing more flash floods, according to an advanced climate model.

     

    Where has global warming baked the most in US since 1984? Maine, Vermont, New Mexico, Texas

    US hottest spots of warming: Northeast, Southwest

    By SETH BORENSTEIN | Associated Press | Jun 4, 2014 2:25 PM CDT in Science

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is warming fastest at two of its corners, in the Northeast and the Southwest, an analysis of federal temperature records shows. Northeastern states — led by Maine and Vermont — have gotten the hottest in the last 30 years in annual temperature, gaining 2.5 degrees on average. But Southwestern states have heated up the most in the hottest months: The average New Mexico summer is 3.4 degrees warmer now than in 1984; in Texas, the dog days are 2.8 degrees hotter.

    The contiguous United States’ annual average temperature has warmed by 1.2 degrees since 1984, with summers getting 1.6 degrees hotter. But that doesn’t really tell you how hot it’s gotten for most Americans. While man-made greenhouse gases warm the world as a whole, weather is supremely local. Some areas have gotten hotter than others because of atmospheric factors and randomness, climate scientists say. “In the United States, it isn’t warming equally,” said Kelly Redmond, climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nevada. “Be careful about extrapolating from your own backyard to the globe.” For example, while people in the East and Midwest were complaining about a cold winter this year, Redmond’s Nevada and neighboring California were having some of their warmest winter months ever. To determine what parts of the country have warmed the most, The Associated Press analyzed National Climatic Data Center temperature trends in the lower 48 states, 192 cities and 344 smaller regions within the states. Climate scientists suggested 1984 as a starting date because 30 years is a commonly used time period and 1984, which had an average temperature, is not a cherry-picked year to skew a trend either way. The trend was calculated by the NCDC using the least squares regression method, which is a standard statistical tool….

     


     

     

    El Nino–ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Watch June 5, 2014

    Synopsis: The chance of El Niño is 70% during the Northern Hemisphere summer and reaches 80% during the fall and winter

    Above- average sea surface temperatures (SST) expanded over the equatorial Pacific Ocean during May 2014 (Fig. 1), though the collective atmospheric and oceanic state continued to reflect ENSO-neutral. All of the Niño indices increased during the month, with the latest weekly values between 0.6oC and 1.6oC (Fig. 2). In contrast, subsurface temperature anomalies decreased over the last two months (Fig. 3), but still reflect a large pool of above-average temperatures at depth (Fig. 4). The low-level winds over the tropical Pacific remain near average, except for westerly anomalies over the eastern Pacific. At upper-levels, anomalous easterly winds have predominated over most of the equatorial Pacific. Unlike the previous month, convection was near average across most of the tropics (Fig. 5). The lack of a clear atmospheric response to the positive SSTs indicates ENSO-neutral, though the tropical Pacific continues to evolve toward El Niño.

    Over the last month, the chance of El Niño and its ultimate strength weakened slightly in the models (Fig. 6).
    Regardless, the forecasters remain just as confident that El Niño is likely to emerge. If El Niño forms, the forecasters and most dynamical models, such as NCEP CFSv2, slightly favor a moderate-strength event during the Northern Hemisphere fall or winter (3-month values of the Niño-3.4 index between 1.0oC and 1.4oC). However, significant uncertainty accompanies this prediction, which remains inclusive of a weaker or stronger event due to the spread of the models and their skill at these lead times. Overall, the chance of El Niño is 70% during the Northern Hemisphere summer and reaches 80% during the fall and winter (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome).

    This discussion is a consolidated effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA’s National Weather Service, and their funded institutions. Oceanic and atmospheric conditions are updated weekly on the Climate Prediction Center web site (El Niño/La Niña Current Conditions and Expert Discussions). Forecasts are also updated monthly in the Forecast Forum of CPC’s Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. Additional perspectives and analysis are also available in an ENSO blog. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for 10 July 2014. To receive an e-mail notification when the monthly ENSO Diagnostic Discussions are released, please send an e-mail message to: ncep.list.enso-update@noaa.gov….

     

     


    DROUGHT

     

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/home/regionaldroughtmonitor.aspx?west

     

     

    Report: El Niño not likely to be drought-buster

    Posted on Thursday, June 5 at 11:54am | By Kurtis Alexander SF Chronicle

    Courtesy of Climate Projection Center.

    The odds of an El Niño helping shake California out of its prolonged drought got a bit bleaker this week with a new forecast from the U.S. Climate Prediction Center. While the agency’s monthly report still projects that summer or fall will give rise to an El Niño — the warming ocean surfaces that can tip worldwide weather — federal scientists say the phenomena is most likely to be only of moderate strength.

    In Northern California, El Niños that have been weak or moderate have had little correlation with winter weather conditions while strong ones have been associated with some of the region’s wettest years. The El Niño year of 1997-98, for example, pounded San Francisco with a record 47.2 inches of rain. “We continue to be confident that an El Niño will develop,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of the Climate Prediction Center. But “maybe it’s not looking like the ’97-98 event that a few folks thought a few months ago.”….

     

     

    Sierra rises, quakes erupt as Central Valley aquifer drained

    David Perlman Updated 11:00 pm, Thursday, June 5, 2014 SF Chronicle

     

     

    Drought-stricken farmers in the Central Valley are pumping more and more water from the valley’s huge aquifer beneath them, and the drainage is triggering unexpected earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault, scientists have discovered. For the past 150 years, they report, periodic pumping from the aquifer has caused the towering Sierra to rebound upward as much as 150 millimeters, or about 6 inches. At the same time, they note, California’s Coast Range, which spans 400 miles from Humboldt to Santa Barbara counties, has grown, although by much less.
    The pace of uplift in the Sierra is measured only in millimeters, but when California experienced bone-dry seasons between 2003 and 2010 and pumping increased up and down the Central Valley, the High Sierra rose by about 10 millimeters, the geophysicists say. That’s nearly half an inch during those seven years alone. During that same period of increased pumping, instruments at Parkfield in Monterey County detected unusual clusters of earthquakes along the quake-prone San Andreas Fault there. The unexpected links between the periodic drainage of the Central Valley’s aquifer and the rise of the mountains that increase stresses on the San Andreas fault zone are reported in the May issue of the journal Nature. Its authors are a team of Earth scientists led by Colin Amos of Western Washington University and includes Roland Bürgmann of UC Berkeley and William Hammond of the University of Nevada in Reno. The remarkable ability to measure tiny changes in the height of mountains is made possible by the extraordinary sensitivity of advanced global positioning systems, similar in principle to the GPS devices that tell car drivers where they’re going in unfamiliar cities, block by block….”This is a real eye-opener,” said James Famiglietti, a water resource expert and director of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling at UC Irvine who has long studied the great aquifer’s long-term drainage issues and its seasonal water losses. He called the study’s conclusions surprising and valid.

    “The whole role of fluids and seismicity is still poorly understood. They have identified a real link between human activity and earthquakes,” said Famiglietti, who was not part of the study.

    “It forces us to consider not only the role that large groundwater mass changes can play in earthquake frequency, but by extension, the roles of water management decisions in times of drought and climate change.”

     

     

     

    Counting Each Drop: Corporate Concern Mounts About Water Supplies

    By BETH GARDINER JUNE 2, 2014 NY Times

    Credit Cristóbal Schmal

    LONDON — As droughts and floods become more frequent and extreme around the world, companies from food and beverage makers to the mining and energy industries are beginning to scrutinize their operations for vulnerability to water problems that could increase their costs or disrupt production. The concept of “water risk” is catching on as a way of thinking about potential exposure not just to shortages or deluges, but also pollution, regulatory troubles or increases in the prices of water and water-dependent raw materials. “Businesses manage risk, that’s one of the main functions of management,” said Adrian Sym, executive director of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, a group that promotes the responsible use of water. In the case of water, “it could be ‘Do I have enough water to do what I need to do for this business? Is the quality of this water sufficient to enable me to do that?”‘ and will local authorities remain willing to license a company’s usage, Mr. Sym said. “These are the things businesses are dealing with.” Water supply stresses are intensifying everywhere from California to South Africa, the result of climate change, booming populations and the growing numbers of people moving to cities and adopting resource-intensive, middle-class lifestyles….

     

     

    Drought drives drilling frenzy for groundwater in California. Counties in the farm-rich Central Valley are issuing record numbers of permits for new water wells. Driller Steve Arthur says his company’s got an eight-month waiting list. Some of his competitors are backlogged more than a year. San Francisco KQED Public Radio, California

     

    East Bay Regional Park District unveils clever new water conservation sign

    June 2, 2014 by Mike Aldax

    The East Bay Regional Park District unveiled a new sign apologizing to park goers for grass areas that are browner than usual. The “Brown is the new green” sign is part of the district’s effort to achieve water conservation goals in light of the state’s ongoing drought conditions. Despite the April rains, the district said drought conditions are still a big concern and have affected operations of its 65 parks in Contra Costa and Alameda counties…..

     

     

    Santa Clara Water District Cuts Reservoir Releases to Local Creeks and Ponds

    by Sabine Bergmann on June 02, 2014 BAYNATURE

     
     

    Los Alamitos Creek below Almaden Reservoir. (Photo by Greg Kerekez © 2014)

    Santa Clara Valley Water District officials say they are facing an “unprecedented shortage” of water this year, and as the district’s drinking water reservoirs run dry, it is cutting releases into the county’s creeks and recharge ponds to conserve.

    In dry years SCVWD imports up to 99 percent of its drinking water from state and federal sources, and this year both the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project implemented massive water cuts that meant the district received only 5 percent of its usual allowance. So the district is reducing recharge from the Anderson reservoir and suspending releases from the Calero reservoir altogether until supplies increase. According to district spokesperson Marta M. Lugo this is the first time the district has been forced to make such drastic cuts. The decision will likely change the state of the county’s aquatic ecosystems, forcing wildlife to adapt to man’s water cuts as well as Mother Nature’s.

    “With the closure of some reservoir outlets we are concerned about threatened and endangered species,” said Greg Kerekez, co-founder of the Urban Wildlife Research Project. In Los Alamitos Creek, for instance, steelhead trout and Western pond turtles may be vulnerable, Kerekez said. And since the drought is so widespread, there are no suitable options for relocating species that are at risk. “Unfortunately,” Lugo said, “these dry creek and pond conditions are being seen statewide.”…

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    From Sonoma Land Trust:

    … after nearly 10 years of planning, permitting, and fundraising, the largest phase of the Sears Point Wetland Restoration Project will  break ground this week.  Over the next 18 months, Sonoma Land Trust and project partner Ducks Unlimited will prepare 955 acres of diked agricultural baylands for the reintroduction of the tides after more than a century of isolation.  There are many elements to the upcoming phase of work, too many to list, but here are some highlights.  Highway 37 and the SMART railroad tracks will be protected by a new levee serving not only as flood protection but also as habitat.  Its slope to the bay will be gradual, allowing vegetation to establish and provide refuge for marsh wildlife during extreme tides and storm surges.  Scattered throughout the tidal basin will be hundreds of marsh mounds.  These island-like features will break up wind-wave energy and encourage sediment to accumulate for the purpose of bringing the site back up to marsh plain elevation.  Much of the land is currently subsided below sea level.  We’ll remediate contaminated soils, remove structures and energy infrastructure, build stormwater pumps, and excavate up to six miles of new channels to provide soil for the levee and mounds.  The crest of the new levee will have a new 2.5-mile section of the Bay Trail on its crest and we are building a safe access road to the trail and to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters.  In February of this year we transferred 500 acres of the Sears Point property, including the headquarters area, to the Refuge.  This area is also the location of our Baylands Center, built in 2012.    It is our plan to breach the old levee shortly after completing this phase.  The timing will become clearer as we move forward. 

     

     

    $60 million living oyster reef aimed at reducing waves on Staten Island’s South Shore

    A living shoreline off Tottenville is among the projects selected for funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design competition Monday.

    Jillian Jorgensen | jorgensen@siadvance.com on June 02, 2014 at 4:16 PM, updated June 02, 2014 at 6:36 PM

     
     
     

    MANHATTAN – As the region looks to become more resilient in the face of future storms like Hurricane Sandy, in Staten Island, planners are looking to the borough’s past to do so – with a $60 million living reef off the shore of Tottenville harkening back to the borough’s oyster farming days. A living breakwater project designed by SCAPE Landscape Architects was among the winning projects for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design contest, and the state will receive $60 million from HUD to implement it along the South Shore coast.  “The proposal is going to create a living breakwater that will reduce wave action and erosion and lower risk from heavy storms,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said. “It also includes a plan to engage the local schools to help build resilience awareness in the community.” Kate Orff, principal at SCAPE, called their win a “big win for Staten Island.” 

    “The living breakwaters project is really part of this layered approach that was a key aspect of all the community-led design –  it was part of the New York Rising efforts, so we’re excited to get this facet funded,” Ms. Orff said. “And I think, in close collaboration with all the things that are happening on shore, the breakwaters can make a big difference.”… The irony of going back to the old maritime basics wasn’t lost on Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

    “We’re planting oyster beds off Staten Island. Just think of it: Oyster beds,” Cuomo said. “We spent decades devastating the oyster beds. Now we’re going back and rebuilding oyster beds because they were Mother Nature’s intelligence of a natural barrier.”

    Schumer said the city was unprepared when Sandy struck – but that they couldn’t afford to make the same mistake again. When given the option of rebuilding as the coastline was or rebuilding more resiliently, they had to choose the latter, he said. 

    “Resiliency is fancy word for meaning we’re going to do it better and learn from our mistakes,” he added….. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also weighed in, saying there “is no doubt that climate change is real and that it is here.”

    “As we learn the lessons of Superstorm Sandy, these bold, inventive projects will bring together some of the brightest minds and best ideas to help develop a storm-resilient strategy and ensure that communities throughout New York are armed with innovative practices to protect against future disasters,” she said.

     

     

    Cleaning the air with roof tiles
    (June 4, 2014) — Engineering students have created a roof tile coating that when applied to an average-sized residential roof breaks down the same amount of smog-causing nitrogen oxides per year as a car driven 11,000 miles makes. They also calculated it would cost only about for enough titanium dioxide to coat an average-sized residential roof. … > full story

     

    Carbon-capture breakthrough: Recyclable material absorbs 82 percent of its weight in carbon dioxide
    (June 3, 2014) — Scientists invent a porous material to capture carbon dioxide at natural gas wellheads. The recyclable material absorbs 82 percent of its weight in carbon dioxide and releases it as gas when the wellhead pressure is relieved. … > full story

     

     

     

    A huge majority of Americans support regulating carbon from power plants. And they’re even willing to pay for it.

    By Scott Clement and Peyton M. Craighill June 2 at 1:00 pm Washington Post

    A lopsided and bipartisan majority of Americans support federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that also finds most are willing to stomach a higher energy bill to pay for it….

     

     

    The Climate Adaptation Gap: How to Create a Climate Adaptation Plan

    By Joyce Coffee
    3p Contributor | Friday June 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

    Editor’s note: This is the third post in an ongoing biweekly series on the climate adaptation gap. Stay tuned for future installments here on TriplePundit! In case you missed it, you can read the first post here and the second post here.

    In a previous post, I explained how to determine climate-related risks in your supply chains, capital assets and community engagements. With that knowledge, how do we determine strategies to prepare your most vulnerable assets? It’s likely that a storm will prod corporate risk managers and business-continuity planning managers to take stock and begin instituting telecommuting policies, diversifying their supplier chain to other geographies and advising the small businesses they rely on how to develop a resiliency or adaptation plan.

    Here is what it takes to do so:

    Start with adaptive actions already in place. Shift your thinking to resiliency from greenhouse gas mitigation, and revel in a new set of actions you can feature and enhance as part of a growing global corporate strategy.

    • Review local climate-change impact projections.
    • Identify vulnerabilities relevant to your supply chain, capital assets and community engagements.(extreme heat, extreme precipitation, ecosystem changes, fire, floods, inundation, sea-level rise)
    • Prepare an economic risk analysis that adds these risks to your financial modeling for risks avoided.

    Finally, they must create a short- and medium-term plan that:

    • Sets priorities for adaptations with collateral benefits; e.g., mitigating greenhouse gas emissions (onsite stormwater management), improving employee morale (work-from-home options) or buoying your reputation (shoring up public health systems in one of your supplier hubs).
    • Establishes as priorities adaptations with a collateral improvement to your bottom line and your employees’ quality of life.
    • Includes financials for avoided risks to explain and promote any additional costs not covered by collateral benefits.

    ….Businesses new to climate adaptation need only look to peers with their own plans for invaluable resources. They also may find helpful tools from government-backed organizations that understand what climate adaptation looks like and, importantly, how to create an institutional commitment to climate adaptation.

    Two that I especially like are: Private Sector Engagement in Adaptation to Climate Change, a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and Making Cities Resilient:  My City is Getting Ready…..

     

     

     

     

     

     

    NEW EPA POLICY ON CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS—SPECIAL SECTION:

     


    US unveils sweeping plan to slash power plant pollution

    Reuters 

     - June 2, 2014‎

           

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. power sector must cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, according to federal regulations unveiled on Monday that form the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate change strategy. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal is one of the most significant environmental rules proposed by the United States, and could transform the power sector, which relies on coal for nearly 38 percent of electricity. It also set off a political backlash likely to run well into next year. Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, said on Monday that between 2020 and 2030, the amount of carbon dioxide the proposal would reduce would be more than double the carbon pollution from the entire U.S. power sector in 2012.

    States will have flexible means to achieve ambitious but attainable targets, regardless of their current energy mixes. States which rely heavily on coal-fired power plants are thought to have the toughest tasks ahead. “The flexibility of our Clean Power Plan affords states the choices that lead them to a healthier future. Choices that level the playing field, and keep options on the table, not off,” McCarthy said in remarks at EPA headquarters on Monday.

    The plan had come under pre-emptive attack from business groups and many Republican lawmakers as well as Democrats from coal-heavy states like West Virginia before it was unveiled.

    But the 645-page plan looked less restrictive than some had feared, with targets easier to reach because emissions had already fallen by about 10 percent by 2013 from the 2005 baseline level, partly due to retirement of coal plants in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas. The plan gives states multiple options to achieve their emission targets, such as improving power plant heat rates; using more natural gas plants to replace coal plants; ramping up zero-carbon energy, such as solar or nuclear; and increasing energy efficiency.

    States can also use measures such as carbon cap-and-trade systems as a way to meet their goals. Share prices for major U.S. coal producers like Arch Coal, Peabody Energy and Alpha Natural Resources closed at or near multi-year lows on Monday.

    Monday’s rules cap months of outreach by the EPA and White House officials to an array of interests groups. The country’s roughly 1,000 power plants, which account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions, face limits on carbon pollution for the first time. Climate change is a legacy issue for President Barack Obama, who has struggled to make headway on foreign and domestic policy goals since his re-election. But major hurdles remain. The EPA’s rules are expected to stir legal challenges on whether the agency has overstepped its authority. A 120-day public comment period follows the rules’ release. The National Association of Manufacturers, a long-time EPA foe, argued on Monday that the power plant plan was “a direct threat” to its members’ competitiveness.

    The electric utility industry, encompassing plants that use resources from coal and natural gas to wind was more circumspect about the plan.

    “While the 2030 reduction target is ambitious, it appears that utilities may be allowed to take advantage of some of their early actions,” the Edison Electric Institute said….

     

     

    4 key takeaways from EPA’s new rules for power plants National Geographic News June 2 2014

    What’s also striking about the rules is that for all the ambition they represent—and the plan for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 is ambitious—they also appear designed to lock in carbon reductions that have been under way for years. ….It could be up to 15 years before the EPA’s vision is fully realized, as states will have time to hammer out implementation plans and carry them out. But crucial decisions made over the next three years will help determine how the nation’s energy picture will change. For some states, the plan represents a continuation of business as usual; for others, it will mean a significant and possibly painful overhaul of the status quo.

    Here are four key takeaways from the plan that the EPA announced Monday:

    The United States is well on the way to meeting the goal of cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent. In setting the baseline for reductions at the 2005 emissions levels, the EPA is being less aggressive than it could have been. Emissions levels have been falling for years in the United States, thanks in part to the fracking boom that has boosted a nationwide shift to cleaner-burning natural gas, and to the 2008 recession, which depressed energy demand….

    It’s not a great day for coal, but it’s not an immediate death knell. The EPA rules add to challenges that the coal industry has been facing for years, but they do not mandate the closure of any plant or eliminate coal from the U.S. energy picture.That said, the rules will put pressure on the industry by making coal more expensive. The industry faces higher costs one way or another: It may meet emissions targets by upgrading equipment to reduce pollution that plants emit, or if a state decides to set a cap on carbon emissions and issue permits allowing plants to pollute up to certain levels, the plants essentially would be paying extra fees to pollute.

    A few states will have tough choices ahead. Many states, such as the nine Northeastern states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and those such as California that have been moving forward with clean energy alternatives, will need to forge ahead in the same direction they are already moving. But for coal-dependent states such as Kentucky and West Virginia, and for those that have not put any kind of targets for clean energy in place, meeting the standard will be a heavier lift…..The EPA noted in its plan that 47 states already have energy efficiency programs run by utilities, and 38 states have “renewable portfolio standards,” or explicit targets for boosting the share of solar and wind on the grid. The 12 states that do not have such standards likely face a longer road ahead….

    On their own, the new EPA rules won’t be enough to reduce climate change. However momentous Monday’s plan might be in the context of domestic U.S. policy to curb climate change, worldwide the plan has more symbolic value than real impact on greenhouse gas emissions. If implemented, the rules stand to keep 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere: a drop in the bucket compared with the 35.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide being emitted worldwide as of 2012.

    Even so, analysts say that the United States must take the lead on reducing emissions given upcoming international negotiations on climate that will look to developing nations, including China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, to make its own commitments toward reducing pollution. China, which has said it is exploring ways to reduce emissions, did not appear to have a reaction to the EPA plan…..Ladislaw said last week before the rules were released that whatever the United States does may not be ambitious enough but that its global leadership on the issue is important. “Which follows first: the ambition, or incremental building up of capability to shore up [political] support?” she asked. “I think that’s what we’ll learn over the next year.”

     

    Nearing a Climate Legacy

    By THE EDITORIAL BOARD New York Times June 2, 2014

    The greenhouse gas reductions required by the Obama administration’s proposed rule on power plants will not get the world to where it has to go to avert the worst consequences of climate change. But they are likely to be enormously beneficial: good for the nation’s health, good for technological innovation, good for President Obama’s credibility abroad, and, in time, good for the planet and future generations. The proposed rule — and the importance of this cannot be overstated — signals the end of an era in which polluters could dump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without penalty. It would set new emissions standards for America’s existing power plants, which generate 38 percent of the emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, and one-third of overall greenhouse gas emissions. The broad goal is to cut these emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. This means that many of the nation’s roughly 550 coal-fired power plants, which are much dirtier than plants powered by natural gas, will have to close or undergo expensive upgrades.

    The 2030 target is ambitious but hardly unattainable. Emissions from power plants have already fallen roughly 13 percent from the 2005 baseline partly because tougher rules on pollutants like mercury have forced some coal-fired plants to close or become more efficient and partly because cheap and cleaner natural gas is edging out coal as the fuel of choice among big generators. In other words, the country is almost halfway to its goal. A recent study by M.J. Bradley, a Boston consulting firm, showed that 100 of the largest power producers steadily reduced pollutants of all kinds, including carbon dioxide, between 2008 and 2012.

    If it withstands almost certain legal and legislative challenges, the rule also means that Mr. Obama’s pledge in Copenhagen in 2009 to cut America’s overall greenhouse gases by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 202o is well within reach. And it will give him leverage as he leads this country into the next round of global climate negotiations. World leaders will meet this fall in New York with an eye to producing ambitious new national emissions targets by next spring and, perhaps, a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015.

    Mr. Obama’s credibility will be enhanced by the fact that he has begun this process on his own, in the face of a hostile Congress. After a bill imposing a price on carbon that passed the House in 2009 found no takers in the Senate, Mr. Obama decided to invoke executive powers to impose the kinds of limits that Congress had refused to entertain. Two Supreme Court rulings have said he has the authority under the Clean Air Act to do so.

    The issue now is how tough the new standards can be and how they are to be achieved. The rule provides industry and the states — which, by law, share responsibility for carrying out the rule — with considerable flexibility. Each state will be given a reduction target tailored to its energy mix. States will be able to decide how best to meet their targets, using an array of strategies of their choosing — deploying more renewable energy sources like wind and solar and more natural gas, ramping up energy efficiency, creating regional cap-and-trade initiatives aimed at the greatest reductions at the lowest cost.

    Even so, Mr. Obama and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, have been accused of a power grab, of governing by fiat, of declaring a war on coal. Jobs will indeed be lost in coal country and costs imposed on industry. But, over time, these jobs are likely to be replaced by new jobs created by the retrofitting of much of the current energy delivery system and by the expansion of alternative energy sources. And because the rule will also greatly reduce harmful toxic pollutants, the costs will be more than offset by health savings — by a ratio of as much as $7 in savings to every $1 invested in cleaner energy. So far, Mr. Obama’s major environmental achievement has been a set of landmark fuel economy standards that will greatly reduce automotive carbon emissions and rested on essentially the same legal authority. This new rule is his last big chance to enlarge that legacy.

     

     

    Two Steps Remain Before Obama Can Claim A Genuine Climate Legacy

    By Joe Romm on June 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    The Obama Administration took the most serious step toward limiting carbon pollution of any in history. And besides its proposed rules for power plant carbon pollution, the White House has already helped bring about an explosion in solar and wind power, along with very strong fuel economy rules negotiated with the major automakers.

    But the grade the President merits for his climate policies to date is still an “I” for Incomplete until he takes two more major steps: regulate methane leaks from the natural gas production/delivery system and negotiate a serious international climate deal for the December 2015 climate talks in Paris.

    Let’s start with natural gas. On Monday, the EPA proposed a 25 percent cut in electric utility CO2 emissions by 2020 (vs 2005 levels). The proposal is flexible enough to allow that target to be achieved by replacing dirty coal power with a combination of energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, and, yes, natural gas.

    Fuel switching to natural gas is a sub-optimal strategy for a few reasons. We know that U.S. natural gas consumption must peak sometime between 2020 and 2030 to preserve a livable climate. So it makes little or no sense to spend any substantial amount of money on new natural gas production, delivery, and power systems simply to meet a near-term 2020 target.

    The best strategy is clearly transitioning straight to energy efficiency and renewables like solar and wind, technologies that are already cost-effective enough to hit the 25 percent target without any help from natural gas — especially since we already about half the way to the target. But much of the electric utility emissions reductions we have seen to date have come from replacing coal with gas power and much of the rest of the target will certainly be met the same way because our energy policy remains shortsighted.

    That brings us to the final problem with gas. Natural gas is mostly methane, and methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, some 86 times (to as much as 105 times) as effective at trapping greenhouse gases as CO2. So even very low leakage of methane from the natural gas system wipes out its advantages over coal power for decades. The recent scientific literature — based on actual measurements of methane — reveals that methane leakage is actually quite high.

    But the new EPA rules focus on power plants, by necessity, and so they don’t encompass the leaks in a methane production. Unfortunately, as a comprehensive 2014 Stanford study reconfirmed, “America’s natural gas system is leaky.” The news release explained, “A review of more than 200 earlier studies confirms that U.S. emissions of methane are considerably higher than official estimates.” So high, in fact, that, as I calculated at the time, “By The Time Natural Gas Has A Net Climate Benefit You’ll Likely Be Dead And The Climate Ruined.”….

    China is the world’s biggest emitter by far — and the fastest-growing in absolute terms. It has worked as hard behind the scenes is anybody to stop a global deal. But now it seems clear that they want to curtail coal consumption simply because air pollution has gotten out of hand. And there are signals coming from China that suggest they are looking at capping total carbon emissions some time in the 2020s. And, of course, the dangerous effects of climate change are becoming more obvious every year (to those whose heads aren’t stuck in the ground). And we are coming closer and closer to irreversible tipping points according to scientific observation and analysis, such as the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. On top of that, 2014 and then 2015 are poised to be the hottest years on record, if an El Niño forms this year. Given these unique confluence of circumstances, if Obama can’t leverage his policies and commitments to get a serious international deal, it will be prima facie evidence that he didn’t do enough. And future generations living with the multiple catastrophic impacts of a ruined climate will judge him, and all of us, as failures. And deservedly so.

     

    Will the EPA’s climate plan lead to a counterproductive fracking boom?

    June 4, 2014 George Zornick The Nation

    There’s little doubt the Obama administration’s big push to cut carbon pollution, announced this week, will lead to much less coal-fired power in the United States. That’s a good thing. But what if states instead turn to natural gas-powered electricity instead? That could be a disaster for the environment….

     

    Obama step forward on carbon undone by China’s steps back
    Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama is set to take his boldest step to halt the rise of the oceans and stop the warming of the planet. It won’t be enough unless the rest of the world follows.

     

     

    After Years of Gridlock on Climate Change, Obama is About to Play His Trump Card

    President Obama will use his executive authority to move forward on the most ambitious anti-global warming initiative of any U.S. president

    By Pema Levy Newsweek Filed: 5/30/14 at 8:21 AM  | Updated: 5/30/14 at 4:40 PM

    Step aside, Keystone XL pipeline. There’s a new, bigger climate battle about to take over Washington. With Congress in gridlock and climate change deniers still dominating the Republican Party, President Obama will use his executive authority to move forward on the most ambitious anti-global warming initiative of any U.S. president. On Monday, the administration will announce new carbon pollution standards for the nation’s more than 1,000 power plants which produce 40 percent of the country’s carbon pollution — making these plants the country’s number one producer of greenhouse gases causing climate change. A New York Times report Thursday said the new rules will call for a decrease of 20 percent of plants’ emissions by 2020, a significant amount.

    But like everything in Washington these days, the new rules won’t become final without a major fight, and both sides are preparing for war — in Congress, in the courts, at the state-level, even at the ballot box. “We see this as the pivotal battle on climate change,” David Goldston, Director of Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental group playing a leading role in the effort, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday. “For the first time, climate is going to be front and center as the national issue. And what that means, we think, is that when this battle is over and the power plant standards are in effect, climate will have turned into an ordinary environmental issue.” Once the standards are announced, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take comments on the proposal, make any revisions they see fit, and plan to announce a final rule in June 2015. The states will have a year after that to come up with their own plans to comply with the new standards. Throughout this process, Goldston hopes that the climate change issue will be “demystified”: politicians will learn not to fear it, Americans will come to expect action on it. The new standards, Goldston predicted, will “fundamentally change the political dynamic on climate change.”…

     

    Krugman: Climate Action Is ‘Remarkably Cheap,’ New EPA Rules Would Give ‘U.S. Economy A Boost’

    By Joe Romm on May 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    CREDIT: Shutterstock

    Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explains for the umpteenth time that climate action is super cheap — and that even the pro-pollution U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees.

    What would be the cost to the U.S. of moderate carbon pollution reductions, such as the emissions standards for existing power plants that the EPA will be announcing shortly? It’s a question that we always had to answer since, as everyone knows, EPA is legally obligated to issue rules regulating CO2 from existing power plants…. In his new column, Krugman repeats that point. “The U.S. economy is still depressed — and in a depressed economy many of the supposed costs of compliance with energy regulations aren’t costs at all,” he writes. “In particular, building new, low-emission power plants would employ both workers and capital that would otherwise be sitting idle, and would, if anything, give the U.S. economy a boost.” The Natural Resources Defense Council does the math in its recent economic analysis of the carbon rules, assuming they are written flexibly to encourage things like energy efficiency. NRDC finds that a well-designed rule “can save American households and business customers $37.4 billion on their electric bills in 2020 while creating more than 274,000 jobs.” This is a far more credible analysis then the one by the Chamber, not just because NRDC’s is actually consistent with the economic literature, but also because EPA appears to have been influenced by NRDC’s original proposals for how to do the rule flexibly.

     

     

    Morning Plum: Never mind 2014. Climate change will be big issue in 2016.

    By Greg Sargent Washington Post June 2 2014 at 9:09 am

    With the Obama administration today set to roll out ambitious new rules on carbon emissions from existing power plants, multiple news organizations are already noting that the new push could create political problems for vulnerable Dems in 2014. So it’s worth noting that Democrats see this as a much longer battle that will likely continue through the 2016 presidential race and beyond — posing long term risks to Republicans, too. It’s true that some vulnerable Dems, particularly in coal states, will likely distance themselves from the new regulations. But as Politico reports today, Dems actually see the short term politics of this as “manageable.” Similarly, Dem strategists told me recently that Dems in tough races will have to deal with the issue but for a number of reasons the risks will largely turn out to be hyped. But the long game may matter a whole lot more. To understand how some Dems see this, look back at this Pew poll from last fall. It shows that the very voter groups who could continue giving Dems a demographic edge in national elections — the same groups that Republicans must broaden their appeal among — overwhelmingly believe there is solid evidence of global warming:

    * 73% of those aged 18-29 believe it’s happening.

    * 76 percent of nonwhites believe it’s happening.

    * 67 percent of college educated whites believe its happening.

    Meanwhile, far more Republicans remain skeptical of global warming, but this is largely driven by Tea Party Republicans. While 61 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans believe there is solid evidence of global warming, only 25 percent of Tea Party Republicans believe this….

     

     

    Green States & Black States: Obama’s Climate Plan Paints U.S. in New Colors

    The administration wants to get enough states supporting its Clean Power Plan to color the map mostly low-carbon green, instead of coal black.

    By John H. Cushman Jr., InsideClimate News Jun 5, 2014

    At the core of Obama’s plan to control greenhouse gas emissions from more than 1,000 power plants is a strategy resembling that of a presidential campaign in search of electoral votes.

    The administration wants to get enough states on board to color the map mostly low-carbon green, instead of coal black.

    To that end, it has designed a policy that seems intended to isolate the fiercest pockets of resistance, winning over as many fence-sitting states as possible.

    That would make it harder for his opponents to paint this regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act as a heavy-handed federal intrusion.

    “It is going to be important to have a critical mass of states being supportive,” said Travis Madsen, a global warming campaigner at Environment America, a federation of state-based advocacy groups. “If too many states decide they will not cooperate, it’s hard to say what might happen. The more states cooperate or act supportively, the more likely we will succeed.”

    The greenest states would be California and most of those in the Northeast. With their cap-and-trade markets already up and running, these are the poster children for the highly flexible regulatory approach the EPA is pushing.

    Leaning their way are states like Oregon and Washington, which are already planning to join forces with California (and British Columbia) in a regional alliance of the kind the EPA is encouraging.

    Even states like Pennsylvania or Ohio might not balk if, together with their big power companies, they can figure out an advantageous path. A Kansas or an Iowa, where wind power is pushing ahead, or a place like sunny Nevada, where solar is making strides, could take on a greener tinge.

    The blackest states would be places like West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota and Wyoming, where dependence on coal is highest, alternatives are fewer and political opposition is red hot….

     

     

    OTHER POLICY NEWS:

     

    China seeks to cap fossil fuel emissions for first time June 6, 2014 China is working on how to cap its greenhouse gas for the first time, an effort that would spur the worldwide effort to hold back climate change.

     

     

    USDA: NEW PROGRAM ANNOUNCED FOR WATER CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIPS

    On May 27, the US Department of Agriculture announced a new $1.2 billion five-year program aimed at promoting public-private partnerships for soil and water conservation projects. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), authorized under the recent Agricultural Act of 2014, will consolidate the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative and the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion into a single program. The RCPP will competitively award funds to conservation projects designed by local partners specifically for their region. Eligible partners include private companies, universities, non-profit organizations, local and tribal governments and others joining with agricultural and conservation organizations and producers to invest money, manpower and materials to their proposed initiatives. With participating partners investing along with the Department, USDA’s

    $1.2 billion in funding over the life of the five-year program can leverage an additional $1.2 billion from partners for a total of $2.4 billion for conservation. There is $400 million in USDA funding is available in the first year. Through RCPP, partners propose conservation projects to improve soil health, water quality and water use efficiency, wildlife habitat, and other related natural resources on private lands.

    “This is an entirely new approach to conservation,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We’re giving private companies, local communities, and other non-government partners a way to invest in what are essentially clean water start-up operations. By establishing new public-private partnerships, we can have an impact that’s well beyond what the Federal government could accomplish on its own. These efforts keep our land resilient and water clean, and promote tremendous economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism and outdoor recreation, and other industries.” The agency is now accepting proposals for the program, due July 14, 2014.

     

     

    Environmental groups focus on change by strengthening their political operations. When the police arrested seven students at Washington University in St. Louis recently after a crowd of protesters sought to crash a board of trustees meeting, leaders of the environmental movement were thrilled. New York Times

     

    Some banks stop funding mountain top removal...
    Living On Earth

    Coal companies have stripped the tops of mountains in Appalachia in search of the fuel. But the Rainforest Action Network has helped convince some of the world’s biggest banks to stop funding companies that practice destructive Mountain Top Removal.

     

    Keystone XL pipeline opponent cites terrorism concerns June 5, 2014 LA Times

    Billionaire Democratic donor and environmental activist Tom Steyer opened a new front Wednesday in his campaign to derail the Keystone XL project by commissioning a study of the oil pipeline’s vulnerability to terrorism….

     

     

     

     

    In Debate Over Coal, Lessons From ’90s Tobacco Fight

    By JONATHAN WEISMAN NY Times June 3, 2014

    The states dependent on tobacco received economic benefits that helped settle a long battle. The emissions issue has parallels but important distinctions.

     

     

     

     

     
     

     


     
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The National Wildlife Federation’s Climate Smart Conservation – Putting Adaptation Principles Into Practice looks at how climate change already is affecting the nation’s wildlife and habitats, and addresses how natural resource managers will need to prepare for and adapt to these unprecedented changes. Developed by a broad collaboration of experts from federal, state, and non-governmental institutions, the guide offers practical steps for crafting conservation actions to enhance the resilience of the natural ecosystems on which wildlife and people depend.

     

    WEBINARS:

    Habitat Restoration Webinars June 10-19, 2014

    If you know anyone who might be interested in a very cost-effective way to learn about planning and/or implementing a habitat restoration project, please forward this on to them. Sustainable City Network has partnered with the Northwest Environmental Training Center to provide habitat restoration training in online courses offered June 10 through 19. Instructor Larry Lodwick will conduct the 6-hour habitat restoration planning course in three 2-hour webinars June 10, 11 and 12 for those with limited to moderate experience in natural area management, natural resource management or environmental permitting. The 6-hour habitat restoration implementation course will be presented in three 2-hour webinars on June 17, 18 and 19. Continuing education certificates will be provided, and each session will be recorded, so missing live sessions won’t be a problem.

    Communicating about Climate Change – From Impacts to Solutions
    June 23, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT)

    Americans are waking up to the reality of extreme weather events are beginning to connect the dots to climate disruption. Effectively engaging the public as partners in addressing the challenge requires emphasizing local, current and personally relevant impacts and bridging to solutions. Join environmental communications expert Cara Pike and Executive Director of Climate Access, for a discussion of the latest trends in public opinion poling, how to frame the climate conversation, and best practices in climate engagement. 

    Cara Pike, Director, Climate Access

    Register

     

     

    UPCOMING CONFERENCES: 

     

    North America Congress for Conservation Biology Meeting. July 13-16, Missoula, MT. The biennial NACCB provides a forum for presenting and discussing new research and developments in conservation science and practice for addressing today’s conservation challenges.

    First Stewards
    July 21-23, Washington, DC.

    First Stewards will hold their 2nd annual symposium at the National Museum of the American Indian. This year’s theme is
    United Indigenous Voices Address Sustainability: Climate Change and Traditional Places

    99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
    Sacramento, California  August 10-15, 2014  http://www.esa.org/sacramento

     

    California Adaptation Forum 
    August 19-20, 2014
    . SACRAMENTO, CA

    This two-day forum will build off a successful National Adaptation Forum held in Colorado in 2013. The attendance of many California leaders there underscored the need for a California-focused event, which will be held every other year to complement the biennial national conference.  To register go to:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/886364449

    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.

     

    ***SAVE THE DATE!!***  Sponsored by the CA LCC and CA Dept. of Water Resources

    Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workshop September 23rd, 2014 @ California State University, Sacramento
     

    Registration will open in June 2014. Check the California LCC website for details: http://californialcc.org/

    The CA LCC, DWR and co-sponsors will host a one-day workshop for state and federal agency staff, NGOs, and Tribes with interest in how Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) can help ensure resilient and sustainable natural landscapes for California in the face of climate change and other ecological stressors. Participants will learn from Tribal instructors about what TEK is, how it has been cross-walked with Western science to gain valuable insights about species and ecological cycles, and how to talk with Tribes about TEK. Attendees will come away with an increased understanding of TEK and indigenous peoples of California, and how we can work together in the future.

    Confirmed Instructors

    • Ron Goode (North Fork Mono Tribe)
    • Sage LaPena (Nomptipom Wintu Tribe)
    • Chuck Striplen (San Francisco Estuary Institute, Amah Mutsun Tribe)
    • Dr. Beth Rose Middleton (UC Davis)

     

    Workshop Topics (subject to change)

    • Basic definitions and applications
    • Cultural sensitivity
    • TEK and ethnobiology
    • Tribal sovereignty – with respect to protection of tribal lifeways, access to resources, resilient environments.
    • TEK and the policy environment
    • Intellectual property law
    • Tribal consultation
    • Ethno-ecological fire traditions
    • Cultural landscape mapping – archaeology + ethnography + historic and contemporary resources
    • Science needs – data, mapping, cross-walking of sensitive information
    • Successful partnerships between tribes and agencies (NGO, universities) that advance resource co-management

     

     

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

     

     

    • Please spread the word about an exciting opportunity at EDF to help us develop the Central Valley Habitat Exchange and pursue other opportunities to bring habitat markets to scale.  If you have any questions about the position, let me know.  And if you have networks where you can post this, it would be much appreciated.

       

    • The National Park Service Klamath and Pacific Island Network Program Manager positions are now open. They are Interdisciplinary Supervisory GS-12/13 positions. Please distribute this announcement widely to anyone who may be interested. The announcement number is: PWROPI-14-I&M-1118179 DE/MP

     

    • CA OCEAN PROTECTION COUNCIL—MPA STAFF PERSON, OCEAN ACIDIFICATION STAFF PERSON

      The California Natural Resources Agency and the Ocean Protection Council are recruiting for two vacancies. One position will likely serve as the staff lead on marine protected area (MPA) management. The other will likely serve as the staff lead on the issues of ocean acidification and hypoxia. For both positions, the ideal candidate will be willing and able to work on the wide variety of issues under the responsibility of the Ocean Protection Council. Applicants must be eligible for hire from the Coastal Program Analyst I or II lists. Applications will be considered on a continuous basis; therefore, interested applicants are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. For more information, please visit: https://www.jobs.ca.gov/ and choose “Resources Agency” in the search function under “Department”. Please note that a Statement of Qualifications is required in addition to an Employment Application (STD 678) and resume.

     

     

     

     

     

    • OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

     

    Hurricanes Named After Women Are More Dangerous? Not So Fast.

    By Eric Holthaus SLATE June 3, 2014

    Hurricane Irene in 2011 Photo by NASA via Getty Images

    A new study out on Monday makes an audacious claim: Hurricanes can be made safer just by changing their names. If you haven’t seen this headline yet, I defy you to guess the reason.

    Go on … OK, fine. I’ll tell you, but you won’t believe me. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study alleges that hurricanes with female names are more deadly than those with male names because—get this—people don’t take them as seriously. It’s a story that’s quickly rocketed to the front page of /r/nottheonion, where the discussion surrounding it is priceless.

    Except there’s at least one major flaw in the study. From Ed Yong at National Geographic:

    But [National Center for Atmospheric Research social scientist Jeff] Lazo thinks that neither the archival analysis nor the psychological experiments support the team’s conclusions. For a start, they analysed hurricane data from 1950, but hurricanes all had female names at first. They only started getting male names on alternate years in 1979. This matters because hurricanes have also, on average, been getting less deadly over time. “It could be that more people die in female-named hurricanes, simply because more people died in hurricanes on average before they started getting male names,” says Lazo.

    Whoops. That’s a pretty basic error to make in a study where you’re trying to correlate deadliness of something over time. Actually, when the authors did attempt to account for this by comparing only storms after 1979, as you might expect, any correlation between names and deadliness vanished. Ideally, to back up a claim like this, you’d want to have lots of data, and there simply haven’t been enough years of named hurricanes to get a sufficient statistical significance……

    … Lazo says, “It could be that more people die in female-named hurricanes, simply because more people died in hurricanes on average before they started getting male names.” But no, that is not the case according to our data and as reported in the paper. We included elapsed years (years since the hurricane) in our modeling and this did not have any significant effect in predicting fatalities. In other words, how long ago the storm occurred did not predict its death toll. My suspicion is that this study is a classic example of confirmation bias: The authors likely knew what result they were going for when they set out to do the study, and sure enough, they found it. The deadliness of hurricanes is an intensely complicated problem. To generalize it down to gender stereotypes based on the name of the storm itself is a simplistic distraction at best, and a perpetuation of gender myths at worst. The researchers went so far as to develop a fatality forecast model based on storm name alone. In an extreme case, the researchers found an especially damaging hypothetical storm with femininity of 11 on the investigators’ 11-point scale—even the Disney-esque Hurricane Belle in 1976 only scored a 10.4—would have more than five times the predicted deaths as a hurricane with an excessively male name. As an aside, I’ve never thought about “excessively gendered” names before (and, apparently, neither has the Internet), so at least there’s that.

    There’s only one possible takeaway from this study. Why not go all out? Here’s my proposal: Starting in 2015, the National Hurricane Center should immediately implement a completely non-gendered list of hurricane names that immediately brings to mind the severity of the situation, so as to forever remove any sense of bias or uncertainty when it comes down to taking action when an evacuation order is issued. Because, apparently we’re incapable of doing that now….

    Other parts of the world do use non-human names for storms. The Asia-Pacific region, for example, rotates naming by country, and typically uses native words for flora and fauna. Last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines, was named after a Vietnamese word for “sea bird.” During the record Atlantic hurricane season of 2005, forecasters exhausted the list of human names and had to resort to the Greek alphabet. So, there’s many different ways to do this, if we as a society decide that female names are too dangerous to be used to label inanimate natural disasters.

    Interestingly enough, back in the day, some of the first hurricanes ever to receive names were named after weather forecasters’ ex-girlfriends.

    Hell hath no fury, indeed.

     

    China Bulldozing Hundreds Of Mountains To Expand Cities

    By Ari Phillips June 5, 2014 at 9:19 am Updated: June 5, 2014 at 11:36 am

    CREDIT: flickr/ilya

    China is just about the same size as the United States, but livable land is in short supply. With the population and economy still growing at a rapid clip, the government has undertaken a plan to bulldoze hundreds of mountains to create land for building on. In a paper published in journal Nature this week, three researchers from Chang’an University in China warn that the scores of mountains already being truncated is leading to air and water pollution, erosion, and flooding. With unprecedented plans to remove over 700 mountains and fill valleys with the debris, they warn that “there has been too little modelling of the costs and benefits of land creation. Inexperience and technical problems delay projects and add costs, and the environment impacts are not being thoroughly considered.”…

     

    Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system
    (June 5, 2014) — In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage — a major side effect of chemotherapy — but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. ..

    The study has major implications for healthier aging, in which immune system decline contributes to increased susceptibility to disease as we age. By outlining how prolonged fasting cycles — periods of no food for two to four days at a time over the course of six months — kill older and damaged immune cells and generate new ones, the research also has implications for chemotherapy tolerance and for those with a wide range of immune system deficiencies, including autoimmunity disorders….. > full story

    Green tea could reduce pancreatic cancer risk: Study explains how
    (May 30, 2014) — A new study explains how green tea changed the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells, opening a new area in cancer-fighting research. Green tea and its extracts have been widely touted as potential treatments for cancer, as well as several other diseases. But scientists have struggled to explain how the green tea and its extracts may work to reduce the risk of cancer or to slow the growth of cancer cells. … > full story

    Eating prunes can help weight loss, study shows
    (May 30, 2014) — Eating prunes as part of a weight control diet can improve weight loss, research shows. Consumption of dried fruit is not readily recommended during weight loss despite evidence it enhances feelings of fullness. However, a study of 100 overweight and obese low fiber consumers tested whether eating prunes as part of a weight loss diet helped or hindered weight control over a 12-week period. The results were promising. … > full story

    Subtle change in DNA, protein levels determines blond or brunette tresses, study finds
    (June 1, 2014) — A molecule critical to stem cell function plays a major role in determining human hair color, according to a new study. The study describes for the first time the molecular basis for one of our most noticeable traits. It also outlines how tiny DNA changes can reverberate through our genome in ways that may affect evolution, migration and even human history. … > full story

     

     

     

     


     



     


     


     


     


     


     

     


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    Ellie Cohen, President and CEO

    Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO)

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