The IPCC working group responsible for evaluating society's vulnerability to climate change has released its section of the Fifth Assessment Report. The first article in this series examines the working group's findings about food security. The second one reviews what the IPCC identified as urban vulnerabilities to climate change. Finally, a look at the 9 cities most at risk from flooding associated with climate change (and the most resilient, too). (Photo: DTL/morgueFile)
I suggested earlier than one of the top environmental issues is the way in which we use land. One resulting pattern is widespread landscape fragmentation. I explain what fragmentation is in a new article here. Another very visible element of modern landscapes is our sprawling road network. In two new articles you can read about road ecology, and about roadkill. (Photo: A road cuts through boreal forest. Credit: dyet/morgueFile.com)
Nowadays, opportunities for amateurs to contribute to science abound. Learn more about citizen science.
(Photo: Black-throated Blue Warbler. USFWS)
Invasive species are viewed by some conservation scientists as a more immediate and severe threat to our environment than even global warming. The variety of ecosystems they infiltrate and the range of problems they cause is so vast that they are extremely complicated to manage. Learn more about what invasive species are, where they come from, what consequences they have, and how we can control them. It's an interesting problem that integrates ecology, global trade, and economics. (Photo: USDA)
On March 19, 2014 the White House announced the creation of a climate change data center. Driven by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA, the new site will bring together data that had been scattered across several federal agencies. It should allow easier access to data for researchers, communities, and other stakeholders with an interest in adapting to climate change.
Meanwhile, as part of the series of articles about the IPCC's latest Assessment Report, here's a summary of the effects of climate change on sea level rise, and a synthesis of the effects of global warming on large scale phenomena like monsoons, tropical cyclones, and EL Niņo.
On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck Japan, generating a large tsunami which hit the eastern shore of the country. This tsunami led to massive loss of life and infrastructure destruction. But perhaps most lasting will be the damage it inflicted on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, releasing large amounts of radioactive material in the air and into the Pacific Ocean.
Over the following months, concerns arose across the Pacific about large quantities of floating debris reaching the coasts of Canada and the United States. There are fears that a plume of radioactive particles is to follow. Worries ratcheted up when it was first reported that migratory tuna were being caught in southern California waters bearing radioactivity picked up off the coasts of Asia. Bluefin tunas caught through sport fishing (not for commercial resale) were tested and shown to contain radioactive cesium originating from the Fukushima disaster.
A study published in 2013 evaluated the risks these radioisotopes pose to humans who consume migratory Bluefin tuna containing cesium. The results are reassuring. The amount of radiation one would be exposed to is less than (or close to) the dose obtained from radioisotopes found naturally in food or from routine medical treatments and air travel. This gives consumer a green light of sorts, but it doesn't relieve them from the responsibility of making sustainable seafood choices.
Fisher, N.S. et al. 2013. Evaluation of Radiation Doses and Associated Risk from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident to Marine Biota and Human Consumers of Seafood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1221834110.
In terms of the economy, President Barack Obama was dealt a tough hand even before he took the oath of office--and he's been trying to figure out the best way to play those cards ever since.
According to economists, the recession officially started in December 2007, nearly a year before Obama was elected president, and the financial crisis hit full force in late 2008, several weeks before Obama assumed his presidential responsibilities.
Given that 2012 is a presidential election year and Obama is running for a second term, Republicans in the House, the Senate and along the campaign trail are criticizing the president almost daily for not rebuilding the U.S. economy and putting Americans back to work.
It's not for lack of trying. Looking back at the three State of the Union addresses Obama has delivered during his years as president, the economy has been his clear and consistent focus.
And while he has taken numerous actions on his own authority, and proposed a number of different measures that Congress could adopt to help achieve that goal (most of them never acted upon), one thing has never changed. Year after year, the cornerstone of Obama's plan for U.S. economic recovery and future growth has been clean energy.
Take a look at the highlights of President Obama's State of the Union addresses from 2010, 2011 and 2012 to see how they compare:
If you're concerned about specific environmental issues, you're probably trying to do something about them. Some of those actions may extend to what you put on your dinner plate.
See how other readers of this website are changing their diets and eating habits to address their environmental concerns and reflect their environmental commitment--and join the discussion.
You've seen it a hundred times and probably never given it a second thought -- the offical seal of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Follow the link to see the seal again and to find out how it came to be.
Every time we are exposed to radiation, whether from a medical X-ray or a nuclear accident, government officials quickly reassure us that the amount of radiation we are likely to receive is perfectly safe.
Many medical experts disagree, arguing that radiation exposure is cumulative and no amout of radiation is truly safe. Learn more.