Scientists Find Out What Killed Millions of Starfish
A new study shows warmer ocean temperatures are likely responsible for the mass die-off, threatening the biodiversity of marine life from Alaska to Mexico.

Sea stars, or starfish, are what’s known as a keystone species, important to maintaining biodiversity in marine environments. But an epidemic that swept across the West Coast killed millions of the multi-limbed animals—wiping out up to 95 percent of populations in some regions. Now, a new study is showing warming ocean temperatures might make mass die-offs more severe…

CO2 can be stored underground for 10 times the length needed to avoid climatic impact
Study of natural-occurring 100,000-year-old CO2 reservoirs shows no significant corroding of 'cap rock', suggesting the greenhouse gas hasn't leaked back out -- one of the main concerns with greenhouse gas reduction proposal of carbon capture and storage.
Book shares Inuit elders' insights on climate change in Arctic
The Caribou Taste Different Now shows changes in ice conditions, wildlife and vegetation through elders' eyes

A new bilingual English and Inuktitut book is offering first hand accounts from Inuit elders about how climate change has affected their environment, diet and traditional lifestyle in the Canadian Arctic.

The Caribou Taste Different Now edited by José Gérin-Lajoie, Alain Cuerrier, and Laura Siegwart Collier, with a foreword by Mary Simon, offers insights on how the people who live in the Arctic are coping with changes in ice conditions, wildlife and vegetation.

“They are living the change,” says Gérin-Lajoie.

The book was inspired by the work of award-winning Inuit activist Sheila Watt Cloutier to “put a human face on climate change.”

“The people were very generous of their knowledge and openly talking about what they knew and sharing their experience,” says Gérin-Lajoie.

Enlivened with maps and photos, the book is designed as an educational tool for students in Nunavut and features 145 interviews conducted between 2007 and 2010 with people living in eight communities in three of the four Inuit regions in the Canadian Arctic.

Alain Cuerrier says while there are a lot of books on climate change from a scientific perspective, few include contributions from the people living in the Arctic.

“Now going back to people who have been living there for hundreds and hundreds of years, they know what’s going on, they have a good clue and they are really keen observers of what are the changes around their communities and where they go for hunting and fishing.”

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Gila Monsters Declining From Climate Change, Drought
This symbol of the Southwest already lives at its limits in terms of water, while development is also taking a toll.

One of only two venomous lizards in the world, the Gila monster (pronounced HEE-luh) remains an enduring symbol of the Southwest U.S. But these charismatic animals are in trouble, scientists warn, due to climate change. 

The name Gila monster comes from Arizona’s Gila River Basin, where the lizards were first discovered. But new research suggests the iconic animals are facing new threats, from development and a changing climate in their natural habitat. Officially, the animals are classified as near threatened, but their status could soon change for the worse, scientists warn. (Learn about the discovery of a new giant lizard.)

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the species “is probably in significant decline… thus making the species close to qualifying for vulnerable” status…

What Does the 97% Consensus on Man-Made Climate Change Really Mean?

Talking about science is my life. I’ve been doing it long enough to know I’ll regularly face opposition from people whose beliefs don’t jive with the facts, especially considering that issues like evolution, vaccines, and man-made climate change come up quite often in my videos.

I can handle that. And I don’t exclude these voices of disagreement, even if they are wrong or badly misinformed. Instead, I do my best to welcome everyone in, to get people to, even if just for a moment, look at the world from a scientific point of view. The universe looks much better from here, trust me!

On the It’s Okay To Be Smart YouTube channel, I’ve made a couple of videos about climate science. One lays out the basics of climate science, and the other examines why people don’t believe in it. Check ‘em out if you haven’t already:

I don’t know what’s up, but I’ve had climate science deniers descending on my YouTube comment sections like flying monkeys swarming a Kansas girl. These passionately pugnacious people have a list of bad-but-confusingly-complex arguments as long as your arm, but there’s one in particular that I’m super tired of hearing: The claim that the “97% consensus” on climate change is a hoax, or has been debunked. Everyone from presidential candidates to basement bloggers have trotted this one out, and it’s time we put it to rest.  

Rest assured, 97% of scientists really do agree that climate change is real and humans are a major cause.

This statement is true. And I’m going to tell you why it’s true, but first you have to promise not to just say “Nuh uh! No it isn’t!!!” because if you’re going to start off by declaring that up is down or salt is sugar, we’re not going to get very far and someone’s gonna leave with a bad taste in their mouth. To see eye to eye with people who disagree with us, we have to agree to live in the same non-imaginary universe.

Last week, a group of scientists led by John Cook published a new study of climate consensus, and guess what? ~97% of scientists really do agree that humans are causing recent climate change! It’s not debunked! Rather, it remains fully bunked!

Cook’s is the latest of multiple studies between 2004 to 2016 looking at the level of agreement that humans are causing recent global warming and broader climate change. Using a variety of methods, these many studies have shown consensus between 90-100%, and they have shown it consistently. A consensus on consensus!

What Cook did was look at the abstracts of climate science papers (the abstract is a sort of short introductory summary of a paper and its findings) and use that abstract to gauge whether the scientist who wrote it supports the idea that humans are causing climate change. They did this with thousands of papers written by thousands of scientists from around the world published over more than a decade. Cook and his team then went a step farther and actually surveyed the scientists themselves to make sure they were capturing true opinions and not just misreading abstracts.

When you look at the scientific research, the sum total of papers that express a position on what or who is causing climate change, 97.1% of them agree that it’s humans. Just 1.9% reject the idea that humans are causing it, and 1% are uncertain.

Very talented climate deniers will point to that and say “Ok, that’s fine, but the consensus goes way down when you include papers that don’t take a position on the cause of climate change!” These people want you to believe that a paper that doesn’t specifically mention a cause for climate change by default disagrees with humans causing it.

What that really means is that the consensus is so strong, and it has been that way for so long, that most climate scientists don’t bother writing it in every paper they write. I mean, imagine if every biology paper had to say “DNA, which we strongly believe is the information molecule responsible for genetic inheritance…” or if physicists had to constantly repeat “We believe that gravity is a warping of space and time due to massive objects…”

I agree. It is ridiculous. The scientific community is certain enough that humans are causing climate change that they don’t even bother reminding each other of it anymore.

I wish we didn’t have to remind each other either. Maybe then we’d be further along in reversing it and adapting to our changing world?  

As a result of these campaigns of doubt (looking at you, here, YouTube commenters), the public believes that scientists are much more divided on the issue than they really are (only 57% of the public thinks scientists are in agreement). The boatloads of bits and bytes that have been wasted trying to claim that scientists don’t actually agree on what’s causing climate change has had real consequences. Just look at this week’s news about the Great Barrier Reef

I know, Ariel. It makes me sad too. 

What’s most interesting is Cook found that the more climate-specific expertise a scientist had, the more likely they were to support the consensus. Essentially, people who know the most about Earth’s climate agree even more that we’re behind recent warming.

John Cook and his fellow authors recently did a Reddit AMA, where they answered a ton of questions about what the 97% number means and why consensus is a thing worth paying attention to in science. You should check it out.

If you still find yourself disagreeing with scientists and doubting humanity’s role in climate change, that’s your choice. I think it’s a bad choice, and there’s a LOT of evidence to back me up, but you’re free to believe that.

You’re just going to have to stop using the 97% argument as a reason.

Thirty-one top scientific societies speak with one voice on global climate change
"To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced."
By admin

In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies today reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”

Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported. “The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added. It cited the scientific consensus of the vast majority of individual climate scientists and virtually every leading scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. National Academies, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of America.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the group said, adding that adaptation is also necessary to “address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”


The 28 June letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Meteorological Society
American Public Health Association
American Society of Agronomy
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
American Society of Naturalists
American Society of Plant Biologists
American Statistical Association
Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
Botanical Society of America
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Crop Science Society of America
Ecological Society of America
Entomological Society of America
Geological Society of America
National Association of Marine Laboratories
Natural Science Collections Alliance
Organization of Biological Field Stations
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society for Mathematical Biology
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Society of Nematologists
Society of Systematic Biologists
Soil Science Society of America
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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Sea ice algae drive the Arctic food web

by Sara Zielinski

As happens every summer, sea ice in the Arctic is shrinking as temperatures warm. But this year is a particularly warm year, and there is less sea ice than there usually is. Scientists say Earth is on track to match or perhaps even exceed the record low extent of summertime sea ice seen in September 2012.

The disappearing sea ice is a symptom of a warming planet, and it is also a problem for organisms associated with the ice, such as algae that live in the brine-filled channels within sea ice.

“These algae are adapted to grow under very low light conditions,” says Doreen Kohlbach of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany. These algae, along with algal species that live in the open ocean, form the base of the Arctic food web. And they are an important food source even for species that don’t live under the ice, a new study shows…

(read more: Science News)

photograph: The Amphipod, Themisto libellula, by Angelina Kraft/Alfred-Wegener-Institut

Anthrax sickens 13 in western Siberia, and a thawed-out reindeer corpse may be to blame
Thirteen Yamal nomads were hospitalized, including four children, the Siberian Times reported. The bacteria took an even worse toll on wildlife.

First a heatwave hit Siberia. Then came the anthrax.

Temperatures have soared in western Russia’s Yamal tundra this summer. Across Siberia, some provinces warmed an additional 10 degrees Fahrenheit beyond normal. In the fields, large bubbles of vegetation appeared above the melting permafrost — strange pockets of methane or, more likely, water. Record fires blazed through dry Russian grassland.

In one of the more unusual symptoms of unseasonable warmth, long-dormant bacteria appear to be active. For the first time since 1941, anthrax struck western Siberia. Thirteen Yamal nomads were hospitalized, including four children, the Siberian Times reported. The bacteria took an even worse toll on wildlife, claiming some 1,500 reindeer since Sunday.

According to NBC News, the outbreak is thought to stem from a reindeer carcass that died in the plague 75 years ago. As the old flesh thawed, the bacteria once again became active. The disease tore through the reindeer herds, prompting the relocation of dozens of the indigenous Nenet community. Herders face a quarantine that may last until September.

The governor, Dmitry Kobylkin, declared a state of emergency. On Tuesday, Kobylkin said “all measures” had been taken to isolate the area, according to AP. “Now the most important thing is the safety and health of our fellow countrymen — the reindeer herders and specialists involved in the quarantine.”

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Temperature anomalies from April 2016.

This was the hottest April on record across the globe, making it seven months in a row that record monthly temperatures have been broken.

April’s temperature broke the previous record set in 2010, which at the time surpassed the average by 0.87 C.

Meat is horrible
It may be delicious, but the evidence is growing that meat is kind of a disaster.

Agriculture today accounts for for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions — posing one of the biggest challenges to countries desperately trying to curb the emissions that promote global warming. And half of those agriculture emissions come from livestock, which produce large amounts of methane, a short-lived but powerful greenhouse gas…

Climate change could cost the world $2 trillion over the next 14 years

Donald Trump is about to become the Republican nominee for president, a man who has described climate change as a concept “created by and for the Chinese” and “bullshit.” Meanwhile, the United Nations released research Tuesday which indicates said “bullshit” could interfere with productivity, costing the world $2 trillion over the next 14 years.

Ironically, this also coincides with the 10-year anniversary of then-senator Barack Obama‘s climate speech that changed the face of politics.

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