Public opinion and scientific consensus are not always on the same page.
Science & research
On getting climate model projections in the hand of managers.
In the past several decades, climate scientists have developed robust models that simulate past climate conditions and provide meaningful projections for the future. In the past several years, researchers have developed downscaled climate projections that provide the kind of local guidance resource managers have been demanding. And now all those managers are making climate-informed decisions.
Most early career climate scientists, myself included, entered the field during the years of the Obama Administration. Climate science was officially respected and encouraged, and we saw the U.S. take a leading role in negotiating the Paris Accord and back up its talk by substantially reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
Hawaiʻi was fortunate enough to have the honor to host the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress this September. This was the first time in its 70-year history that the Congress has ever been held in the United States. Around 10,000 participants came together in Honolulu and embraced the Aloha Spirit. The sheer size of the Congress was astounding alone but the diversity of people attending made it all the more impressive.
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.
While the mountains of the Northeast may not be the tallest nor the most remote compared to others within North America, they contribute just as much to the natural and cultural value of the surrounding landscape as any other. Stretching from the Catskills and Adirondacks of New York to the Greens of Vermont, Whites of New Hampshire, and all the way up to Katahdin in Maine, the mountains of the Northern Forest are a formidable and irreplaceable feature of the Northeastern landscape.
During the summer I am beyond fortunate to be one of the research supervisors on Seal Island NWR (restricted access). In addition, I recently finished my first semester as a Master’s Fellow with the Northeast Climate Science Center at UMass Amherst. SINWR is one of the study sites for my thesis focusing on shifts in the phenology of Sterna sp. of terns as well as their prey in the Gulf of Maine. These species include the Arctic, Common and the federally listed Roseate Tern.
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.
As a climatologist, it’s not often when I get out of the office and away from working with climate data and projections. The closest I normally get to working in the bush are the occasional times I get out to give a tour at a weather station, or do station maintenance. So when I had the opportunity to join some ecologists in Puerto Rico for a day out during their field season, it was quite a treat.
Online surveys are everywhere these days, and with free tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, anyone can conduct a survey. Preparing and conducting a survey for research, however, is no small endeavor and requires careful preparation and consideration. Here are 6 tips for how to get the most out of your efforts.