As temperatures rise, fungal infections are spreading


IMG_0163
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | November 28, 2022

As temperatures warm, fungal infections are expected to spread outside of their typical regions. Currently, around 10% of infections are found in environments outside of where the fungus grew.  

Dr. George Thompson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Davis, said, “We’re definitely seeing disease in locations that we previously have not.” 

Thompson went on to say, “And that’s concerning, because if we’re recognizing those locations, where are the places it’s occurring that just have not been recognized quite yet?” Due to the lack of data, mistreatments are common, and it is hard for scientists to gauge how common fungal infections are. 

Fungal infections happen after an open sore has occurred on the body. Most immune systems fight it off, leaving people with symptoms like that of colds or cases of flu. However, some people can get more severe symptoms or even illnesses because of the infection, including meningitis or pneumonia.  

Polar bears continue to move inland as ice melts, creating danger for people


Polar Bear
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | November 21, 2022

As the ice melts in arctic regions, polar bears are pushed onto land. Their territories will now range into small towns. Researchers in Churchill, Manitoba, also known as the polar bear capital of the world, have begun to explore how to detect the animal’s presence in remote areas through radar technology. The instruments could be in use by next summer.  

Due to polar bears’ aggressive and dangerous nature, they pose a threat to civilization. By using technology that costs thousands of dollars, the animals can be tracked, helping to prevent any unwanted conflict. 

Senior director of conservation and staff scientist, Geoff York, said, “If we’re asking people to conserve a large predator like a polar bear, we have to make sure people who live and work with them are safe.” 

According to York, “Churchill is unique in that bears come to shore, depending on the year, from July to August, and they’re on land until this time of year.” Churchill has around 800 polar bears that roam its shores.  

As rising temperatures and global warming continue to melt ice, polar bears spend more time on land. It’s predicted that a larger number of polar bears will be forced on land and near the town. So, the response program will help to ensure people’s safety.  

Carbon emissions have risen since pandemic


Pollution
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | November 16, 2022

As 2022 comes to an end, record high amounts of carbon dioxide emissions remain. According to a report, the Earth has less than 10 years to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals. In 2015, the Paris Agreement was signed by about 200 countries. Although cuts in emissions production have been made, it is not enough to prevent global warming. The Global Carbon Project and its’ scientists estimate that global warming will rise one and a half degrees Celsius.  

A climate modeler at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and author of the study, Pierre Friedlingstein, said, “This is more evidence that time is running out.” Other climate organizations have concluded similar results from their studies. According to Friedlingstein and his team, if carbon dioxide stays the same, in nine years, the planet will likely rise one and a half degrees.  

Just this year, around 40.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide have been put into the atmosphere, similar to the number of levels in 2019. Due to the pandemic causing a slower pace of life, emission levels lowered, but since have risen.  

Rainfall caused drought to withdraw in some parts of Iowa


Drought
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | November 14, 2022

After a hot, dry summer and fall, drought conditions are retreating in most parts of Iowa. Last week, the Southern part of the state saw heavy rainfall, reducing drought conditions. The most rain seen was 4.3 inches with the lowest amount around 2 inches.  

The state had been in the worst drought in nine years and desperately needed rain, with northwest Iowa receiving the brunt of the effects. The rain missed this part of the state, not reviving any of the stress the drought has caused. Currently, two-thirds of the state is still suffering from the drought 

According to the Drought Monitor, above 10 percent of the state is listed as being in extreme drought or more severe. The area in extreme drought expands from Humboldt to Sioux City.  

Global warming will cause famous glaciers to melt


Yosemite
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | November 7, 2022

According to UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency, nearly a third of glaciers are predicted to disappear by 2050. These glaciers include Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Yellowstone’s Yosemite, and Italy’s Dolomites. The cause of the disappearances is linked to rising temperatures caused by global warming.  

The loss of these glaciers will majorly impact the landscape of these areas, often focal points for tourists. To combat the losses, UNESCO says that policies should be made surrounding these glaciers to help reduce natural disasters and risks caused by their disappearances. According to Tales Carvalho, lead author of the report, “As glacier lakes fill up, they can burst and can cause catastrophic floods downstream.” 

Each year, around 58 billion tons of ice melt off the glaciers and cause sea levels to rise. Carvalho says the best way to save the glaciers would be to lessen carbon emissions. 

Across 50 of its World Heritage sites, UNESCO monitors 18,600 glaciers. Out of these sites, a third of them are set to disappear. However, the remaining glaciers can be saved if temperatures stay controlled.

Drought conditions predicted to continue through winter


Drought
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | November 2, 2022

This winter, the drought is expected to continue in the Western region of the United States. This news comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which has forecasted that the extreme drought will continue through the winter.  

The drought has affected Central California the most as the state experiences warmer temperatures and below-average rainfall. However, more states are feeling the effects of the widespread drought. The drought is causing shipping issues in the Mississippi River valley due to low water levels.  

Brad Pugh, the operational drought lead with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said, “We’re going on our third year of this extreme drought for much of the Western U.S.” He continued saying, “It’s adversely affecting agriculture, increasing wildfire danger and has impacts on tourism as well.” 

Around 25 percent of U.S. citizens are facing a drought. The National Integrated Drought Information System predicts that almost half of the U.S. will feel the effects of the drought.  

Snow crab population decrease has detrimental effects on Alaska


Crabbing the mouth of the Holy loch .
Via: Flickr

Elyse Gabor | October 19, 2022

Alaska’s snow crab season would be underway, but due to a massive population decrease, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has canceled the snow crab season. Scientists and officials anticipate that the cancellation will help the crab population increase.  

Cran boat captain, Dean Gribble Sr., who has been fishing for crabs for over 50 years said, “It’s going to be life-changing, if not career-ending, for people.” He went on to say, “A lot of these guys with families and kids, there’s no option other than getting out. That’s where the hammer is going to fall — on the crew.” 

Alaskan people rely on snow crab fishing for income, so this year’s cancellation has affected the state’s people and economy. This is the second year in a row that the season has been canceled. Scientists are unaware of why the crabs are disappearing, but global warming and rising temperatures in the oceans are likely reasons, as Alaska is warming at alarming rates.  

Solar Energy in Iowa: Policies and Practices at the Municipal, County, and State Levels


Via: University of Iowa

Elyse Gabor | October 10, 2022

On Tuesday, October 11th, Iowa Law is hosting a discussion surrounding the Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative (HELI). The event will feature panel discussions with policy experts, researchers, industry members, public employees, and nonprofit organization representatives. The panels will discuss solar policies around Iowa. Following the guest speakers, the audience will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A. Breakfast and lunch will be included at the event. Attendance is both in person and virtual and open to all ages. If interested, register at: https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2lU6iMrnn17eLu6  

For more information, visit: https://events.uiowa.edu/73266 

Trees Can Keep Us Cool as Iowa Anticipates Many More Dangerous Hot and Humid Days  


Climate change has caused more frequent and intense weather patterns in Iowa, including floods, droughts, and powerful derechos. These events create conditions that threaten our trees. The Iowa Climate Statement 2022: The Many Benefits of Our Trees released today is focused on the climate threats and strategies to expand and support urban trees and rural woodlands. 

“The August 2020 derecho, the most destructive thunderstorm in US history is emblematic of the impact of climate change on our trees. This extreme event led to the loss of an estimated 7 million rural and urban trees in Iowa,” said Dave Courard-Hauri, Chair of Environmental Science and Sustainability Program, Drake University. “Recovering from this event will take years of coordinated efforts and millions of dollars of investment,” continued Courard-Hauri.  

“With their wealth of ecological and social benefits, the trees we have are valuable. We need to plant diverse species of trees to promote resilience and support and strengthen Iowa’s on-going tree planting programs,” said Heather Sander, Associate Professor, Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, University of Iowa.  “In the face of climate change we should both plant more trees and provide essential care for the precious trees we already have.” continued Sander. 

The twelfth annual Iowa Climate Statement 2022: The Many Benefits of Our Trees was endorsed by Iowa 203 science faculty and researchers from 33 Iowa colleges and universities. 

Learn more at https://iowaenvironmentalfocus.org/iowa-climate-statement/  

Climate resilient military base coming to Florida


Diving into LFA7
Via: Flickr

Elyse Gabor | September 28, 2022

Due to climate change and worsening storms and weather, Florida is building a new military base. The base will be the first of its kind, strong enough to face increasing climate changes. The base will be built where Tyndall Air Force Base once stood before it was destroyed by Hurricane Michael in 2018.  

Col. George Watkins, the commander of the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall, said, “We’re focused on making sure that as we rebuild, that the base is resilient, and that we can continue this mission here for many, many years.” 

The new base will be built to weather the increasing and more severe storms that hit the Florida coast. This comes after the Pentagon labeled climate change as a risk to national security. Following the Army’s strategy guidelines, the base will feature buildings that are designed to withstand hurricanes that are labeled as Category 5.  

 The base is expected to be finished and ready for use in 2026, with construction costs of around $5 billion.