Tech & Science More than 95 percent of the world’s lemurs face imminent extinction, making them the most threatened vertebrate on Earth, conservationists said Wednesday. In a statement, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said that 105 of 111 lemur species are under threat from loggers who raze the forest floors they roam, poachers who hunt and sell their meat and climate change, which could dry out their habitats. Researchers called the lemur populations’ deterioration “unlike anything we have seen before in Madagascar,” which houses every lemur species, and announced they would develop a “major” conservation plan to curtail population loss. The ring-tailed lemur, one of Madagascar’s identifying species, has decreased and fragmented in population size more than 95 percent since 2000, when lemur counts exceeded 750,000. As few as 2,000 ring-tailed lemurs remain in the island nation’s forests, a 2016 … [Read more...] about Almost All of Madagascar’s Lemurs Are Threatened by Hunting, Habitat Loss and Climate Change, Conservationists Warn
Ecosystems and climate change
Boy, it’s hard to stay optimistic these days, what with the impending doom of our species at the hands of … our species. Namely, human-caused climate change. Climbing temperatures are ripping apart ecosystems, and rising seas are already forcing people from their homes. If an asteroid was going to destroy our planet, now would be the time to just get it over with. But today lands an uplifting and intriguing, if not counterintuitive, study in the journal Nature Energy. An international team of scientists has developed a global scenario called Low Energy Demand, arguing that humanity’s appetite for things like electric cars and cellphones, as well as the development of better building standards, can drive a revolution in efficiency that could help lower energy demand and encourage the proliferation of renewable energy. The researchers claim that if several trends fall into place, we’d be able to make the idealistic goal set by the Paris Climate Agreement to keep … [Read more...] about Can a New Kind of Consumerism Help Fight Climate Change?
Tech & Science Paleontology Dinosaurs Climate Change Evolution The Dolomites, an Italian patch of the Alps known for their dramatic cliffs and narrow valleys, are a paradise for scientists who want to study the deep history of the Earth. Massimo Bernardi, a paleontologist at the Museum of Science, in Trento, in Italy, confesses he may be biased in calling it spectacular, since he was born in the region and lives in the range’s foothills today. But he has a geologic rationale to back up his sentiment. He describes climbing up steep slopes that reveal petrified signatures of changes in the region, with his feet planted on the remains of one era of the past and his hands stretching up to grasp rock that’s a million or two years younger. That detailed geologic record has allowed scientists to pinpoint how old certain sections of rock are, which is usually a tricky feat. “You see the different rock layers,” he told Newsweek. “You can see time in front of … [Read more...] about New Dinosaurs Evolved After Dramatic Global Climate Changes Killed Competitors
Scientists at Lausanne’s federal technology institute EPFL have discovered that alpine streams emit higher levels of carbon-dioxide (CO2) after a warmer than normal winter. Alpine lakes and rivers emit a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere as a naturally occurring phenomenon, said EPLF in a press release. But in a ‘normal’ winter, they absorb more than they emit. However in a new study comparing CO2 levels over two consecutive winters, scientists discovered that after a warm winter with little snow, the streams release more CO2 than they absorb. “After a normal winter, our study showed that during a 70-day ‘magic window’, the streams absorb more carbon dioxide through photosynthesis than they produce naturally,” explained Amber Ulseth, a researcher at the EPFL lab that carried out the research. “After a warm winter with very little snowfall, more production of CO2 takes place during the spring, which means that the … [Read more...] about Swiss scientists: climate change raises CO2 emissions from alpine streams
Spurred on by climate change, international travel and international trade, disease-bearing insects are spreading to ever-wider parts of the world. This means that more humans are exposed to viral infections such as Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika, West Nile fever, Yellow fever and Tick-borne encephalitis. For many of these diseases, there are as yet no specific antiviral agents or vaccines. Global warming has allowed mosquitoes, ticks and other disease-bearing insects to proliferate, adapt to different seasons, migrate and spread to new niche areas that have become warmer. These are the findings of a JRC report that aims to raise awareness about the threat posed by the spread of arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses). The growing spread of arboviruses Aedes mosquitoes spread several arboviruses, including Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, West Nile and Yellow fever viruses. These mosquitoes thrive in urban settings due to the lack of natural predators and the ready availability of food … [Read more...] about Climate Change Promotes the Spread of Mosquito and Tick-Borne Viruses