Archive | April, 2017

Wildfires Increasing in Frequency and Require Adaptive Strategies

26 Apr

We need to adapt to wildfires, because they are becoming as inevitable as floods and droughts.

Wildfires are an inevitable part of the American west, and, according to a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they’ve been increasing in frequency and severity since the 1970s. A record-breaking fire near Boulder, Colorado, that forced 1,000 people to evacuate their homes in March of 2017 is […]

Greater Income Inequality Means Greater Carbon Emissions

19 Apr

New research shows that income inequality is a contributor to carbon emissions.

Researchers from Boston College have found that evidence that links carbon emissions with income inequality. Scientists have known for some time that national wealth and carbon emissions have been linked, but this is the first study that explores this link within individual U.S. states. By exploring data from 1997 to 2012, the researchers learned that […]

North American Lakes Becoming Increasingly Salty

17 Apr

America's lakes are becoming increasingly salty due to use of road salt to de-ice highways.

Many lakes in North America are becoming saltier thanks to road salt. A recent study looked at 371 lakes in the Midwest and Northeast, and found that 44 percent of them were undergoing long-term salinization. This process means that these lakes have increasing amounts of chloride in them, which is bad for the ecosystems of […]

Five Ways to Celebrate Earth Day With Your Children

14 Apr

Want to help your children understand the importance of Earth Day and the environment? We've got some ideas for you in this post.

Today’s children are tomorrow’s environmental advocates, so it’s really important to teach them about ecology as soon as you can. Celebrating Earth Day is a great way to get started. It may be hard to think of age-appropriate ways to get them started in their journey to be eco-advocates, but we’ve got a few ideas […]

Global CO2 Concentrations Could Hit Highs Not Seen for 200 Million Years

12 Apr

New research indicates that in the next couple hundred years, CO2 concentrations could reach highs not seen in 200 million years.

Climate change is setting new records all the time. According to a recent study which compiles information from 1,200 estimates of ancient temperatures and CO2 concentrations, if we don’t deal with greenhouse gases soon, by 2250 or so the world will have the highest concentrations of CO2 in 200 million years. The cause is twofold. For […]

Scientists Use Big Data to Study the Decline of Stromatolites

10 Apr

Scientists are using "big data" to study the decline of stromatolites. Big data could help with synthesis and research on many subjects, including climate change.

Stromatolites are naturally occurring structures in the world’s oceans, built up by lime-secreting cynobacteria. If you haven’t heard of them, it might be because they’ve been pretty uncommon since the Precambrian era, just before the rise of multicellular life. They do still form in shallow lagoons, but much less often than they used to. Paleontologists […]

Celebrate Some Climate Victories Since the First Earth Day

7 Apr

It's easy to be depressed about the environment, but let's remember the big victories we've scored since the first Earth Day in 1970.

It’s easy to take a pessimistic attitude toward the future of our environment, given recent cabinet appointments and executive orders regarding the environment. But it’s just as important for eco-warriors to remember the victories as well as the steps backwards, because those victories build morale in the movement. Here are just a few of the […]

House Mouse Evolution Reveals Early Human Impact on Ecosystems

5 Apr

The evolution of the house mouse shows the evolution of humankind's impact on the environment.

It has generally been thought that humans only started to have a real impact on the ecosystems around us when we started to develop agriculture. But that hypothesis is slowly unraveling as scientists and researchers learn ever more about our ancient ancestors. A new study has shown that people were having these impacts well before […]

Asian Dust Feeds Giant Sequoias In the United States

3 Apr

Giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevadas get some of the nutrition they need thanks to Asian dust.

People are largely used to thinking of ecosystems as separate and self-contained. But as scientists learn more about the Earth and how its myriad systems work together to give us the world we know, some things come as a surprise–like the relationship between giant sequoias and Asian dust. The Sierra Nevadas are naturally low in […]