News in August 2018
A warming climate will burden future societies with enormous costs in the form of death due to extreme heat, reports the Wall Street Journal based on a new study from the Climate Impact Lab. RCI affiliate Robert Kopp is an author of this study, which shows that cities in warm climates experience large projected increases in heat deaths, while cities in temperate climates may see an improvement in their mortality rates due to a decrease in extreme cold conditions. Wealth tends to be a mitigating factor, improving a city’s ability to adapt, but this takes away from the other services provided to society.
The extreme weather experienced globally during July is consistent with the impacts of anthropogenic climate change, reports USA Today. RCI affiliate Jennifer Francis weighs in, emphasizing the cost of climate change on lives on property not just in the distant future, but even today.
Climate change will have mixed effects on wildlife, reports the Christian Science Monitor. According to RCI Professor Julie Lockwood, species that have very specialized adaptations will be most at risk of disappearing as the climate changes. For many species, including invasive species, climate change creates an opportunity to expand and thrive. With respect to ocean species, RCI affiliate Malin Pinsky is quoted, “We’re seeing hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands, of species shifting toward higher latitudes…It’s happening about 10 times faster in the ocean as on land, and it’s largely unseen.”
Geoengineering through solar radiation management as a way to combat climate warming may have unintended consequences, such as reducing agricultural yield, reports Wired and Gizmodo. Using volcanic eruptions as an analogue, researchers studied the effect that volcanic eruptions in the past had on food production to determine the effects that geoengineering could have. According to RCI affiliate Alan Robock, there is still research to be done before the case for geoengineering can be fully made.
The exotic Longhorned tick was found on a 14-year-old girl from New Jersey, the first known human interaction with the tick, NorthJersey.com reports. The girl was not bitten by the tick and the tick was not found to be carrying lyme disease. According to RCI affiliate Dina Fonseca, this is still a significant finding because the tick has been in the United States for five years and there had been no known human encounters.
RCI affiliate Jill Lipoti discusses how harmful food waste is at NorthJersey.com. Food waste encompasses everything from food that doesn’t get harvested to food that is purchased but never eaten. According to Lipoti, as a society we don’t fully appreciate all of the resources that go into food that isn’t consumed, nor is enough attention paid to the amount of methane that is produced from landfill waste.
The EPA’s global lake monitoring efforts are assisting the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) to assess water quality in Ireland’s lakes, according to the Irish Times and The Drive. RCI affiliate Olaf Jensen is involved in the project, who has experience using drones to monitor rivers and lakes in North America and Mongolia.
The famous painting The Scream sold for a record $119.9 million in 2012, but the inspiration behind its iconic red-and-yellow sky has not always been clear. RCI affiliate Alan Robock as well as scientists from the University of Oxford and University of London believe the artist, Edvard Munch intended to depict nacreous clouds (clouds in the winter polar stratosphere) in the sky of this world renown painting, Rutgers Today, News 12 New Jersey, Science Daily, and USA Today reports.