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?
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
If we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change, then by the end of the century, 70 percent of king penguins could face a tough decision: either find a new home or die, according to new research. King penguins live on islands scattered throughout the Southern Ocean, the waters surrounding Antarctica. The birds can swim as far as 310 miles (500 kilometers) to feed on lanternfish, squids, and krill in a food belt circling the continent. But climate models show that this food belt will move closer and closer to the South Pole, forcing the penguins to swim farther to catch their meals. By 2100, the penguins are expected to migrate to other islands or as many as 70 percent of them could disappear, according to a study published today in Nature Climate Change. “Wow,” says Michelle LaRue, a research ecologist at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the study. “That’s not something I would have expected.” Unlike their … [Read more...] about As climate change worsens, king penguins will need to move — or they’ll die
Today Guy Callendar is a historical footnote, but tomorrow he will have a chapter of his own. Born in 1898, Callendar was the son of Britain’s leading steam engineer, a successful academic and inventor who raised his children in a 22-room mansion. A greenhouse on the grounds was converted into a laboratory for the children until one of Callendar’s three brothers blew it up trying to make TNT. The same brother put out Callendar’s left eye. Undeterred by the subsequent lack of depth perception, he became his father’s successor as the nation’s most important steam engineer. None of this is why Guy Callendar’s name will be boldfaced in tomorrow’s textbooks. Instead it will be because he was willing to delve into fields he knew nothing about, atmospheric science among them. Nobody knows why he got so interested in the air. Callendar himself attributed it to ordinary curiosity: “As man is now changing the composition of the atmosphere at a … [Read more...] about Meet the Amateur Scientist Who Discovered Climate Change