Climate 411

Old-Growth Forests Still Taking Up Carbon

Lisa Moore's profileOld Growth ForestOld-growth forests hold vast amounts of carbon from centuries of growth, and this carbon would be released into the atmosphere if the trees were cut down. That much has been known for a long time, which is why Environmental Defense Fund so strongly advocates a plan to reduce deforestation in developing countries.

But new research shows that old-growth forests are even more important than previously thought. According to a new study in Nature, old-growth forests aren’t just standing there maintaining the status quo. They still actively take up CO2 from the atmosphere.

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Also posted in International / Comments are closed

Extinctions Increase with Global Warming

This post is by Lisa Moore, Ph.D., a scientist in the Climate and Air program at Environmental Defense.

Earth is home to millions of species. This rich biodiversity isn’t just beautiful, it’s also tremendously valuable. As just one example, consider coral reefs. They support fisheries that are the main source of protein for a billion people, and bring billions of tourist dollars into local economies.

Scientists have warned that climate change puts a large fraction of Earth’s species at risk for extinction. Most of these predictions are based on comparisons between species’ apparent climate requirements to projections of future conditions. A new study [PDF] in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B looks at the relationship between climate and biodiversity from a different perspective: the Earth’s deep past. The study found a long-term correlation between global temperature and extinction.

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Posted in Plants & Animals / Read 1 Response

Climate News: Creeping Shrubs and Record Heat

The author of today’s post, Lisa Moore, Ph.D., is a scientist in the Climate and Air program.

This week I came across several interesting articles related to climate, but two in particular caught my eye. In the first, scientists found that excess carbon dioxide (CO2) may be what’s leaving livestock with less food to eat. The other study explores the role of greenhouse gases on the record-breaking heat Americans experienced in 2006.

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Posted in Plants & Animals / Comments are closed

Drive-by Extinction

The author of today’s post, Lisa Moore, Ph.D., is a scientist in the Climate and Air program.

Last weekend’s Mercury News ran a news story about vehicle emissions harming native species in California. The excess nitrogen from vehicle emissions caused invasive species to displace the plants that feed the bay checkerspot butterfly, which is threatened with extinction. My friend and colleague Dr. Stuart Weiss, the scientist who uncovered the link, calls this "drive-by extinction".

Nitrogen pollution has profound effects on life, health, and climate, yet these go mostly unnoticed by policymakers and the public.

Bay Checkerspot Butterfly

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Posted in Plants & Animals / Read 4 Responses

Ozone Alert For Plants

The author of today’s post, Lisa Moore, Ph.D., is a scientist in the Climate and Air Program.

If you’re in or near a big city, you’ve probably heard your local news give ozone alerts. Those warnings mean that smog levels are high enough to affect your lungs. Even moderate pollution causes respiratory problems for kids with asthma. Really high levels of ozone make it dangerous for even the healthiest adult to be outdoors.

Now scientists are warning that smog could make global warming worse because of its effects on plants.

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Posted in Plants & Animals / Read 1 Response

Climate News: Hurricanes, Rainfall and Rainbow Trout

Guest blogger Lisa Moore, Ph.D., is a scientist in the Climate and Air Program.

Last week, Bill summarized two new studies about carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and ocean. This week brought three very different topics: hurricanes (quite timely, since today is the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season!), global rainfall patterns and rainbow trout.

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Also posted in Extreme Weather / Comments are closed