The American pika is a charismatic, diminutive relative of rabbits that some researchers say is at high risk of extinction due to climate change. Pikas typically live in cool habitats, often in mountains, under rocks and boulders. Because pikas are sensitive to high temperatures, some researchers predict that, as the Earth’s temperature rises, pikas will have to move ever higher elevations until they eventually run out of habitat and die out. Some scientists have claimed this cute little herbivore is the proverbial canary in the coal mine for climate change.
A new extensive review by Arizona State University emeritus professor Andrew Smith, published in the October issue of the Journal of Mammalogy, finds that the American pika is far more resilient in the face of warm temperatures than previously believed. While emphasizing that climate change is a serious threat to the survival of many species on Earth, Smith believes
New research reveals temperatures in the deep sea fluctuate more than scientists previously thought and a warming trend is now detectable at the bottom of the ocean.
In a new study in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers analyzed a decade of hourly temperature recordings from moorings anchored at four depths in the Atlantic Ocean’s Argentine Basin off the coast of Uruguay. The depths represent a range around the average ocean depth of 3,682 meters (12,080 feet), with the shallowest at 1,360 meters (4,460 feet) and the deepest at 4,757 meters (15,600 feet).
They found all sites exhibited a warming trend of 0.02 to 0.04 degrees Celsius per decade between 2009 and 2019 — a significant warming trend in the deep sea where temperature fluctuations are typically measured in thousandths of a degree. According to the study authors, this increase is consistent with warming trends in the shallow ocean
Climate change can have profound impacts across ecosystems, but rising average temperatures are just one factor among many driving those repercussions. A new study published in late September in Global Change Biology found that nighttime temperatures are increasing at a faster rate compared to daytime temps in most land areas across the Earth. That shift can influence everything from predator-prey dynamics to plant growth.
“Climate change is already messing things up,” says Daniel Cox, an ecologist at the University of Exeter and lead author of the study. “But the 24-hour asymmetry is adding an extra dimension of complexity [for species].”
Previous analyses have found that the rising greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are not having an even effect on temperatures from day to night. But Cox says this is the
A new IIASA-led study shows that coordinated international action on energy-efficient, climate-friendly cooling could avoid as much as 600 billion tons CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions in this century.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are mainly used for cooling and refrigeration. While they were originally developed to replace ozone-depleting substances that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol, many HFCs are potent greenhouse gases with a global warming potential up to 12,400 times that of CO2 over a 100-year period.
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which entered into force in 2019, aims to phase down the consumption of HFCs by 2050. While previous agreements have resulted in improvements in the design and energy performance of, for instance, cooling equipment, the Kigali Amendment is the first to include maintaining and/or enhancing the energy efficiency of cooling technologies as an explicit goal. According to the
A 10-year effort by China to improve air quality and reduce pollution-related health risks has caused warming in areas across the northern hemisphere, according to new work published in Environmental Research Letters.
Aerosols are tiny particles that are spewed into the atmosphere by human activities, such as burning coal and wood, or by geological phenomena, like volcanos. Their negative effects on air quality can damage human health and agricultural productivity.
Similar to how the aerosols emitted in a volcanic eruption can cause global temperatures to drop, some aerosols from human activity also have a cooling effect on the climate. Unlike greenhouse gases, which induce global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere, aerosol particles can cause sunlight to be reflected away from the planet either directly or by interacting with clouds.
“This means that some of the effects of global warming are being masked by aerosol pollution,” explained lead
Unusually hot zones in the ocean likely will become longer, more frequent.
September 27, 2020, 11:04 AM
• 4 min read
This is an Inside Science story.
Marine heat waves can wreak havoc on fisheries, coral reefs, kelp forests and other vital ocean ecosystems. In a new paper in the journal Science, climate scientists revealed strong evidence that future marine heat waves will intensify and occur much more frequently as a direct result of anthropogenic climate change.
The scientists, led by postdoctoral researcher Charlotte Laufkötter at the University of Bern in Switzerland, focused on seven well-documented marine heat waves from the past decade. For each hot spell, they calculated the relative probabilities that a similar event could have occurred with and without human influence. They found that human activities such as greenhouse gas emissions made the heat waves much more likely