Coral reefs often go unnoticed because they’re underwater; but even though we don’t regularly pay much attention to them, they’re an extremely important part of our everyday lives. Coral reefs have been estimated to provide support for over a quarter of all marine species and this extreme biodiversity makes them a frequent source of discovery for new medicines that can help fight cancer and other diseases. They also protect our coastlines from storm surges, and provide millions of individuals with a source food and income.
Our infrastructure is designed for the climate in which it was developed; engineering standards and logistical procedures are based on historical weather patterns, and as environmental conditions change, some of these systems may need to be re-configured.
For three weeks every summer, undergraduate students from the South Central United States, representing a wide range of cultural backgrounds participate in the “Undergraduate Summer Internship for Underrepresented Minorities” program to visit and learn about climate impacts in the South Central Climate Science Center Region (SC CSC). This year participants spent the balmy month of July starting at Louisiana State University, moving to the University of Oklahoma, and finally ending their trip at Texas Tech University.
Public opinion and scientific consensus are not always on the same page.
When I tell people that I study the vulnerability of salt marshes to sea-level rise in California, the typical responses are “What’s a salt marsh?” or “We have those in California?”. Because most of California’s salt marshes are small, and isolated by development and topography, these questions don’t surprise me.
Earlier this year, I wrote an ECCF blog about a fall semester undergraduate class at the University of Oklahoma (OU) that taught students about climate science, the impacts of climate change, and that gave them a look behind the scenes of the climate negotiations at the Paris COP21 meeting last December. Well, I’m happy to report that this fall this class is back — and it’s gotten even better.
Northern New Hampshire, January 2016. I was doubtful that I was going to find lynx tracks. As a Master’s student, I had spent most weekends doing field work in northern New Hampshire and never found lynx tracks. However, that was three years ago and I have since learned that distribution patterns can change considerably within that timeframe.
Many trees in the Rocky Mountains were alive long before I was born- before my grandparents were born. These trees bore witness to an unprecedented rise in CO2 concentrations, and have weathered the associated changes in climate. In the past decade, however, many trees that survived two centuries of climate change have been killed by a tiny insect: the mountain pine beetle.