Islands support ocean life in many ways – recent research explains why

Schematic showing factors involved in the Island Mass Effect. Writing in Nature Communications, the authors describe the extent to which the Island Mass Effect happens and also identify some of the key drivers in this ‘positive feed-back effect’, which acts as a life-supporting mechanism. Researchers measured a massive increase in phytoplankton in the waters surrounding 35 small islands and atolls …

Oxygen-starved oceans held back life’s recovery after the ‘Great Dying’

Stanford scientists have found that chronically low levels of oxygen throughout the oceans hampered the recovery of life after the Permian-Triassic extinction, the most catastrophic die-off in our planet’s history. Also known as the “Great Dying,” global ecosystems collapsed as some 90 percent of species perished in this extinction event 250 million years ago. The new findings, published this week …

Western US gets 40% of water from groundwater, which is being depleted and vulnerable to severe drought from climate change

In the Western US, 40 percent of the water comes directly from groundwater.  And aquifers in the southern tier of the West are all expected to see decreases in recharge as the climate warms. Already, groundwater is already being withdrawn from the aquifers of California’s Central Valley, the central and southern portions of the High Plains and Arizona’s San Pedro …

Ecosystem and vegetation vulnerability to climate change mapped worldwide

By using satellites, biologists are now able to map which areas are most sensitive to climate variability on a global scale. A new metric, Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI), allows a more quantifiable response to climate change challenges and how sensitive different ecosystems are to short-term climate anomalies. Ecologically sensitive regions are the Arctic tundra, parts of the boreal forest belt, …

Growing evidence that climate change and overall air quality contributes to cardiovascular disease, strokes

“Number of strokes increase as pollution levels rise.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2016.  Higher pollution levels were linked to a higher total number of strokes, and researchers said it reaffirmed the growing evidence that climate change and overall air quality contributes to cardiovascular disease, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2016. The study, which …

Is decentralized (PV) electricity needed for resilience, to power pumps and ensure health during and after weather crises? Severe storm in Fiji…

This last week we heard how Fiji is the destination of evacuees due to sea level rise, in Kiribati, but this week we are hearing how impaired and vulnerable Fiji is after “one of the most powerful storms recorded in the southern hemisphere,” induced by warming global temperatures, warming oceans, and more humid air, from these… Cross-posted from http://newsdaily.com/2016/02/category-5-storm-approaches-fijian-capital/ Downed power …

Sivak and Schoettle’s top 7 things Americans can do to reduce emissions

What if we, as Americans, were going to join in as individuals in order to help the U.S. meet its emissions goals? What would we do differently? Two researchers at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, recently set out to answer those questions. (Here is the abstract of their report.) Their conclusion: The largest single source of greenhouse …

A single standard-deviation increase in temperature elevates the risk of person-to-person violence by about 2.5 percent and the risk of group-to-group violence by about 11 percent

A Stanford economist named Marshall Burke and two of his colleagues published an article in the Annual Review of Economics about the relationships between climate and conflict.  He begins by telling me that I don’t need to go to Darfur or Damascus to learn about the connections between heat and hot-headedness. “We see this everywhere in the U.S. — in …

Deepening drought and precipitation patterns in store

By Joe Romm, cross-posted from Climate Progress A new study finds that the semi-arid U.S. Southwest has begun to enter the “drier climate state” that had been long-predicted from climate models. These findings match ones from Septemberdocumenting an expansion of the entire world’s dry and semi-arid climate regions in recent decades because of human-caused climate change. The new study from …