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.
Science & research
There is a lot of data out there. It seems like every agency has produced their own downscaled dataset using different methods, training data, and a hodge-podge of global climate models. They are all unique, but none of them are the “best.” This blog post will not give you tips in working downscaled data or picking what is right for your project; my colleague already wrote that post awhile back.
The beauty of a healthy, thriving coral reef community is astonishing. These ‘rainforests of the sea’ are unique and their beauty is unmatched. While coral reefs only occupy less than 1% of the world’s ocean floor, they support more than 25% of all marine species. An estimated 85% of the United States’ reef area is located within the Hawaiian Archipelago that holds the largest marine sanctuary in the world, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
As an isolated island archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands have become home to many endemic species found nowhere else in the world. Hawaiʻi provided a unique place for ecological divergence, leading to the evolution of the islands’ expansive and impressive native avifauna. The forest birds in particular are biologically significant to the complex and fragile forest ecosystems of Hawaiʻi.
Dendrotempestology (it’s a mouthful I know!) is the study of the effects of hurricanes on trees. When people hear this, they normally spout something like, “Well, hurricanes kill the trees! Duh!” I quickly attempt to note that though the trees surrounding their houses may suffer substantial damage, many ecosystems are adapted to these disturbances and can respond positively to the damage. Many of these ecosystems occur very close to coastlines around the Gulf of Mexico. Abundant and skilled field research can connect the scientists, land-users, and ecology of the ecosystem.
Climate negotiations, like last December in Paris, are complex, complicated, and not always fruitful. Last year, an innovative class for undergraduates at the University of Oklahoma gave students hands-on experience of how climate policy is made. This fall the class will go online for everyone around the world to participate. Here is my interview with the instructor and students of this class to summarize their experience with context to the recent Conference of the Parties (COP21) negotiations.
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.
Traveling to Suring, Wisconsin for the 3rd annual Northeast Climate Science Center Fellows Retreat marked the first for my time with the consortium institutions—I was a rookie if you will. As we crossed underneath the YMCA U-Nah-Li-Ya’s entrance arch, the excitement in the air was palpable; we were going back to camp, bunk beds and all.