Have you ever wondered how we know what coastal sea rise is going to look like at the end of the century? Climate change and sea level rise are strongly connected and pose a threat especially for coastal cities and ecosystems, for example, including in the Florida Keys. The inhabitants of Key West are losing ground quickly and remote sensing can help us visualize what the future holds as the seas rise. Urban planners, policymakers and homeowners can then use that information to make more informed decisions about how to respond and prepare for rising seas.
From a scientific standpoint, Hawaiʻi is a unique location for climate science in the Pacific Island Region. Since climate change is already impacting island nations throughout the region, you could call them the ‘canaries in the coal mines’ that serve as a warning to other areas.
The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) has convened in Paris this week to agree on global solutions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The goal is to achieve a legally binding international agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The last such treaty signed 18 years ago, the Kyoto Protocol, failed to meet many of its objectives since it was not ratified by the US and other developed nations did not fulfill their commitments.
I recently joined the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) as a Biologist through the Presidential Management Fellowship program (PMF). As a master’s student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, I knew that I was interested in joining the federal government but was unsure about which agency or department would best align with my interests in applied ecology, wildlife conservation, and natural resource management.
Before doctoral students can embark on their research journey they have to pass a general exam, a one-week torture chamber to prove they know all about the methods and fields of science they will touch upon in their upcoming research. My research at the South Central Climate Science Center covers agriculture, climate modeling, statistics, GIS, and social science, so there’s lots to learn, and some of these fields don’t overlap a lot in their methods or language, to say the least.
The Ecological Society of America is having its 100th Anniversary Conference August 9-14 in Baltimore. The organizers of this year’s centennial meeting have challenged us to put together talks and symposia that celebrate 100 years of advancements in ecological research and peer into the future of 21st Century challenges. This has undoubtedly stimulated substantial interest in climate change as a hot topic.
Climate change threatens our lands and seas, our wildlife, and our natural and cultural resources. To conserve our natural environment, managers rely on climate model projections to determine where to take action, what type of action to take, and how much action to apply. Ecologists and biologists depend on these projections to better understand how natural ecosystems will respond to the changing climate.