Bees and plants are in step with climate change, according to new research from Cornell University. The study is based on bee collection data that goes back 130 years. The biggest change in the onset time for bees and flowers took place after 1970, which is the period that has had the greatest increase in mean annual temperature. While researchers don’t know the exact trigger for the bees emergence, Bryan Danforth, Cornell professor of entomology fears, “if climate change accelerates the way it is expected to, we don't know if bees will continue to keep up.”
Credit: Luong Thai Lihn/European Pressphoto Agency
The severe drought suffered in most of England is sparking widespread fears of disaster to farming and wildlife. "A longer term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks more likely, and we are working with businesses, farmers and water companies to plan ahead to meet the challenges of a continued drought," said Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency. The drought is so extensive that other parts of England could impose restrictions on water for homes and businesses that already exist in some parts of the country.
Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA
As it does every month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hosted a web-based press conference on Thursday to fill reporters in on the nation’s climate and weather over the past month or so, and to look ahead three months with a forecast of what we can expect. You can download a pdf of the visuals yourself, but here are a few highlights:
First, as we’ve already reported, March set the record for the hottest March on record in the lower 48 states. If you rank the warmest states by how far above their 20th century average they rose, March came in second, at 8.6° F (No. 1 was January, 2006, at 8.9° F above average). Twenty-five states had a record warm month, with another 15 in the top 10 historically. Alaska, by contrast, had its 10th coolest March on record.
Like a lot of cities in the U.S., Buffalo had its warmest March on record, enabling people to roller blade along Lake Erie.
March was a bit wetter than average too, but not by much. Even with precipitation well above normal, Texas -- still recovering from a terribly dry summer -- remained in a state of drought. Florida and Georgia were severely dry as well, with pockets of drought reaching all the way into the Northeast. Overall, 37 percent of the U.S. was suffering from drought, and 59.9 percent was abnormally dry.
For farmers, the warm spring has been a mixed blessing. They can get a month’s jump on planting corn, but winter wheat — a perennial — was tricked into sprouting too early, and freezing temperatures last week damaged the crop.
Looking ahead, NOAA forecasters project higher-than-no...
For years, we who communicate about climate change have been wringing our hands over how to make people understand the problem at a gut level. Endangered polar bears? Too far removed. Island nations like the Maldives sinking beneath the waves? Too far away. Hot temperatures by 2100? Too far in the future.
But like the first, outlying squalls from an oncoming hurricane, the first effects of climate change are already here, in the form of heat waves, droughts, intense rainstorms and more, and people are evidently noticing. Not just the extremes themselves: you couldn’t have missed those, or at least the news coverage about them. But people are also starting to connect extreme weather events to the changing climate.
We know this thanks to a new report on Extreme Weather, Climate & Preparedness, by Anthony Leiserowitz and his colleagues at the Yale Project on Climate Communication. It’s a survey of public attitudes, based on responses from 1,008 adults, gathered last month (which was, as we’ve noted, the warmest on record for the lower 48 states of the U.S.). The highlights, as featured on the report’s website:
- 82 percent of Americans report that they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year;
- 35 percent of all Americans report that they were personally harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by one or more of these extreme weather events in the past year;
- Over the past severa...
This spectacular image is actually a mosaic of photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which is celebrating its 22nd anniversary this spring. It shows the Tarantula Nebula, a.k.a. 30 Doradus, a vast cloud of gas and dust about 950 quadrillion miles from Earth. At its core lies a dense clot of about half a million hot young stars, many of them newly born from the gas cloud. The cloud itself is made up in part of atoms, including oxygen and carbon, forged in the nuclear fires of an earlier generation of stars that have long since died. As the young stars form their own planetary systems, some of the oxygen and carbon will combine to form carbon dioxide, or CO2 — and a future civilization may one day wrestle with the same sort of climate change Earth is facing now.