Conservation Science News August 1, 2014

Focus of the Week Costs of Delayed Action on Climate Change; New GDP Approach










NOTE: Please pass on my weekly news update that has been prepared for
Point Blue Conservation Science
staff.  You can find these weekly compilations posted on line
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The items contained in this update were drawn from,, SER The Society for Ecological Restoration,,,, The Wildlife Society NewsBrief, CA BLM NewsBytes and other sources as indicated.  This is a compilation of information available on-line, not verified and not endorsed by Point Blue Conservation Science.  
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Focus of the Week– Costs of Delayed Action on Climate Change; New GDP Approach




New Report: The Cost of Delaying Action to Stem Climate Change

Jason Furman, John Podesta The White House July 29, 2014 11:26 AM EDT

Jason Furman is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. John Podesta is Counselor to the President.


The Cost of Delaying Action to Stem Climate Change– pdf


The signs of climate change are all around us. The average temperature in the United States during the past decade was 0.8° Celsius (1.5° Fahrenheit) warmer than the 1901-1960 average, and the last decade was the warmest on record both in the United States and globally. Global sea levels are currently rising at approximately 1.25 inches per decade, and the rate of increase appears to be accelerating.

The scientific consensus is that these changes, and many others, are largely consequences of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases that have led to a warming of the atmosphere and oceans.


The Council of Economic Advisers released a report today that examines the economic consequences of delaying implementing policies to reduce the pace and ultimate magnitude of these changes; the findings emphasize the need for policy action today. The report was written under the leadership of Jim Stock, who recently resigned as a Member of the Council of Economic Advisers to return to his teaching position at Harvard University.




  1. Immediate action substantially reduces the cost of achieving climate targets.
    Taking meaningful steps now sends a signal to the market that reduces long-run costs of meeting the target. Such action will reduce investments in high-carbon infrastructure that is expensive to replace and will spur development of new low- and zero-emissions technologies. For both reasons, the least-cost mitigation path to achieve a given climate target typically starts with a relatively low price of carbon to send these signals to the market, and subsequently increases as new low-carbon technologies are developed and deployed. An analysis of research on the cost of delay for hitting a specified climate target suggests that net mitigation costs increase, on average, by approximately 40 percent for each decade of delay.




  1. Climate change stemming from delayed action creates large estimated economic damages. If delayed action causes the mean global temperature increase to stabilize at 3° Celsius above preindustrial levels, instead of 2°, that delay will induce annual additional damages of 0.9 percent of global output. To put this percentage in perspective, 0.9 percent of estimated 2014 U.S. GDP is approximately $150 billion. The next degree increase, from 3° to 4°, would incur greater additional annual costs of 1.2 percent of global output. These costs are not one-time: they are incurred year after year because of the permanent damage caused by additional climate change resulting from the delay.




  1. The possibility of abrupt, large-scale, catastrophic changes in our climate increases the need to act.
    These large-scale events include the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheets and other ice sheets – which would cause large degrees of sea level rise – as well as the release of additional methane through thawing of permafrost, which would accelerate global warming. These and other potential large-scale changes are irreversible on relevant time scales – if an ice sheet melts, it cannot be reconstituted on any societally relevant timescale – and they could potentially have massive global consequences and costs. For many of these events, there is thought to be a “tipping point,” for example a temperature threshold, beyond which the transition to the new state becomes inevitable, but the values or locations of these tipping points are typically unknown.



4. Enacting meaningful change in climate policy is analogous to purchasing climate insurance.
Much like other insurance purchased by individuals and businesses, paying mitigation costs now reduces the odds of a large-scale catastrophic change in climate. And, unlike conventional insurance policies, climate policy that serves as climate insurance is an investment that also leads to cleaner air, energy security, and benefits that are difficult to monetize like biological diversity.



Robert Rubin Echoes Robert F. Kennedy: GDP Is Fatally Flawed Measure Of Economic Health

by Joe Romm Posted on July 25, 2014

…He explains that tackling climate change won’t harm the economy, but will save it. But we need a new measure of economic health, much as RFK argued in 1968…Rubin is a member of the bipartisan committee that oversaw the recent analysis, “RISKY BUSINESS: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States.” That committee included … former Secretary of the Treasury (and of State) George P. Shultz, former Sen. Olympia Snowe, and former Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Paulson you may recall had an op-ed in the New York Times last month arguing that a carbon tax is needed to help avert “The Coming Climate Crash.”

Rubin’s point is that we need a new GDP “that incorporates the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.” Instead of simply tallying up “the goods and services produced by our economy” we need a GDP that can “account for the present and future damage resulting from the emissions involved in producing those goods and services.” His bottom line:

“We do not face a choice between protecting our environment or protecting our economy. We face a choice between protecting our economy by protecting our environment — or allowing environmental havoc to create economic havoc. And a major step toward changing the debate is to change the way we measure the health of our economy, our fiscal conditions, and the health of individual companies and businesses to better reflect the world as it will be.”….





The right amount of grazing builds diverse forest ecosystems

July 28, 2014 by Thomas Deane

Botanists from Trinity College Dublin have provided surprising evidence to show that preventing hungry deer from munching on plants actually decreases floral biodiversity in globally important woodland ecosystems. When large herbivores, such as Red, Sika, and Red-Sika hybrid deer, are excluded from semi-natural oak woodland ecosystems in Ireland, the composition and abundance of forest-floor plants is greatly changed; plant communities become significantly less diverse over time as some species begin to dominate, with Bambi and co no longer a threat. The botanists, from the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity, used an existing network of seven long-term experimental deer ‘exclosures’ to monitor biodiversity changes over time. The sites were located within EU-level protected oak woodlands in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Co. Wicklow, Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, and Glenveagh National Park, Co. Donegal, and were surveyed periodically for up to 41 years. The botanists have just published their findings in the international peer-reviewed journal Forest Ecology and Management. Researcher Dr Miles Newman, who is lead author of the journal article, said: “This research indicates that deer grazing, at the correct level, is highly important for the conservation of our native oak woodlands.” Semi-natural woodlands are a globally important relict ecosystem for biodiversity. This is especially the case in Ireland where woodland is the natural vegetation cover, but where this habitat type has been reduced to less than 2% of the overall land cover. These relict woodlands are threatened by a range of human-induced actions and changes, such as land-use and climate change, as well as by deer overgrazing….


Delta tunnel plan called a fish death sentence by key group

Carolyn Jones SF Chronicle Updated 7:54 am, Thursday, July 31, 2014

The state’s plan to build a pair of 35-mile tunnels under the delta would cause the extinction of winter-run chinook salmon, steep declines in dozens of other species and devastate water quality in San Francisco Bay, an environmental group said Wednesday.

“This project would be a major step in the wrong direction,” said Gary Bobker, policy analyst for the Bay Institute, which submitted its 250-page findings this week to the state Department of Water Resources as it updates its Bay Delta Conservation Plan. “Diverting more water from the delta is exactly what we need to stop doing if we’re going to have a sustainable ecosystem.” The state’s $25 billion plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta calls for two 40-foot-wide tunnels to carry water from the northern end of the delta to the pumps at the southern end. The purpose is to improve water flow throughout the 1,100-square-mile delta; reduce reliance on old, crumbling levees; and potentially increase water allocations to farms and consumers in Central and Southern California. But, according to the Bay Institute and other environmental groups, the tunnels will leave northern parts of the delta saltier, warmer and with less water – a death sentence for migrating fish, they said. The tunnels would also alter the makeup of San Francisco Bay because less cold freshwater would reach the Golden Gate.


Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Would Devastate San Francisco Estuary, Central Valley Rivers, and Water Quality

Instead of Improving Delta Conditions, BDCP Documents and TBI Analysis Show Proposal to Construct Massive Tunnels Would Significantly Increase Risk of Species Extinction and Degrade Habitats and Water Quality
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 29, 2014
Today, The Bay Institute released a comprehensive review of the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its associated environmental documentation (draft Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report). BDCP is a proposed Habitat Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan that is billed as a means of restoring the Delta ecosystem, including its imperiled salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon populations, while also improving the reliability of water supplies for the water agencies in the San Joaquin Valley and southern California that export water through the giant state and federal water project pumps in the south Delta.  A key feature of the BDCP is a proposal to construct two extremely large tunnels under the Delta that would convey water from the Sacramento River directly to existing export pumping facilities…..

“The current BDCP proposal fails to back up its claims that giant tunnels and habitat restoration will be effective in recovering and maintaining healthy populations of native fish and wildlife species and the ecosystem that supports them,” said The Bay Institute’s program director Gary Bobker. “What California needs is a plan that combines improvements in flows and habitat for the Delta ecosystem with actions to develop alternative water supplies for areas that now rely on unsustainable Delta export pumping levels. We can do better.”…

Weighing in at nearly 250 pages, the groups’ review found:

  • Winter-run Chinook salmon will probably be driven to extinction by operations of the new water diversion facility proposed by the BDCP.  Planned operations would also lead to poor spawning and rearing conditions for this species in its only known spawning locations, downstream of Shasta Dam.
  • Major negative impacts to spring-run, late-fall run, and the commercially valuable fall-run of Chinook salmon would occur in the Delta, particularly downstream of the proposed new water diversion facility, and upstream.
  • Both green and white sturgeon species would be exposed to dramatically degraded conditions, upstream, in the Delta, and in San Francisco Bay.
  • Water quality in the Delta would decline as a result of the BDCP, affecting local Delta farms and key rearing habitats for ducks, geese, and myriad shorebird species.
  • Impacts to San Francisco Bay from reduced Delta outflows and diminished productivity of key estuarine habitats were largely unanalyzed by the Plan and its draft EIS/EIR, and are likely to be significant.


Singing the same tune: Scientists develop novel ways of separating birdsong sources

Posted: 31 Jul 2014 06:51 AM PDT

A new study could greatly improve current methods of localizing birdsong data. The study demonstrates the validity of using approximate maximum likelihood (AML) algorithms to determine the direction of arrival (DOA) of birdsong sources.


Scientists caution against exploitation of deep ocean

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:43 AM PDT

The world’s oceans are vast and deep, yet rapidly advancing technology and the quest for extracting resources from previously unreachable depths is beginning to put the deep seas on the cusp of peril, an international team of scientists has warned.


Deep-sea octopus broods eggs for over four years — longer than any known animal

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Researchers have observed a deep-sea octopus brooding its eggs for four-and-a-half years — longer than any other known animal. Throughout this time, the female kept the eggs clean and guarded them from predators.


Opinion: It’s Time to Stop Thinking That All Non-Native Species Are Evil

How can we best come to terms with the exotic species that surround us?

Giant Aldabra tortoises are a non-native species on the islands of Mauritius. The country introduced them in 2004 after losing all its large tortoises.Photograph by Jack Abuin, ZUMAPRESS/Corbis

Emma Marris in Missoula, Montana for National Geographic Published July 24, 2014

What should be done with the wattle-necked softshell turtles on the Hawaiian island of Kauai? The turtles came from China, starting in the 1850s, brought by sugarcane farmers who liked them as soup. Today, they’re endangered in China and considered invasive—the term for non-native species that cause undesirable effects—in Kauai. But conservationists don’t believe the animals are safe from hunting in their home range, so there’s little point in boxing them up and sending them back.

It’s a head scratcher: Should we remove the turtles from Kauai to preserve the native ecosystem there—the turtles could potentially eat native fish—and risk the extinction of their species, or should we keep them alive in Hawaii?

Those kinds of knotty questions are becoming more commonplace in ecology, as global change accelerates. And so a new attitude is emerging that’s less reflexively hostile toward invaders. It was much in evidence at a symposium held last week at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Missoula, Montana. I participated as a journalist but not a disinterested observer: I’ve argued in the past that it’s time for a more nuanced approach to the non-native plants and animals among us……Julian Olden, a biologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, who co-organized the symposium, recently polled nearly 2,000 ecologists. Among his findings: A substantial number of them said they would immediately eradicate a hypothetical non-native forest plant, even if it were shown to have no effect on the forest. Olden calls this the “guilty even when proven innocent” approach. That kind of approach is not very useful on a rapidly changing planet.

Climate change is making it harder even to decide who the invaders are. How, scientists at the symposium wondered, do you define “native” on a warming planet, when plants and animals are already moving toward the poles or up mountainsides in search of climate conditions they can tolerate? Should we consider them “invasive” in their new homes? Regardless of what we label them, conservationists will be reluctant to remove them from their new environs—to do so would stymie their chances of adapting to the warmer future we’re creating. And then there are the non-natives that we actually like. Most domestic crops are exotic in most of the places they’re grown, but there are even wild exotics that “do good,” forming useful relationships with native species.


Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Invertebrate numbers have decreased by 45 percent on average over a 35 year period in which the human population doubled, reports a study on the impact of humans on declining animal numbers. This decline matters because of the enormous benefits invertebrates such as insects, spiders, crustaceans, slugs and worms bring to our day-to-day lives, including pollination and pest control for crops, decomposition for nutrient cycling, water filtration and human health.


Shrinking Dinosaurs Evolved Into Flying Birds

July 31, 2014 — Scientists have revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, for over 50 million years. … full story


Boat Noise Impacts Development, Survival of Sea Hares

July 31, 2014 — The development and survival of an important group of marine invertebrates known as sea hares is under threat from increasing boat noise in the world’s oceans, according to a new study. Sea hares … full story


Old and used electric waste (stock image). Nearly a quarter of the waste from developed nations went to China, India and five West African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia.

Credit: © geografika / Fotolia

Geography of global electronic waste (‘e-waste’) burden

Posted: 23 Jul 2014 08:11 AM PDT

As local and national governments struggle to deal with ever-growing piles of electronic waste, scientists are now refining the picture of just how much there is and where it really ends up. Their study found that nearly a quarter of e-waste that developed countries discard floods into just seven developing countries — with major potential health risks for the people who live there….


The Microbead [Ocean Pollution] Dilemma

July 28th, 2014

 Podcast Video: Play Now | Download (11)

Personal care products such as the shampoo, facial cleanser, and even toothpaste you use at home can contribute to a massive plastic pollution problem. We talk with Anna Cummins, Executive Director of The 5 Gyres Institute, who explains the dangers of plastic “microbeads” that enter the ocean and endanger aquatic life as well as humans. Find out how you can help end this unnecessary pollution problem. Everyday Action: Check the labels of the personal care products you use in your home and stop using products containing polyethylene or polypropylene microbeads. Send any products with microbeads to 5 Gyres to help bring awareness to this important issue. For more information, please visit:




Common gray foxes are one of the most common mammals in California, but since these animals are active at night it can be very hard to spot one. One of the places you may want to look is:

(a) Down – in the water – they sometimes like to swim in lakes, or slow-moving rivers and streams.
(b) Under the hoods of automobiles that have just been run – for the heat of the engine.
(c) Up – they can sometimes be found lounging in trees.
(d) Behind – rocks, that is – they like to blend into gray fields of boulders.
(e) In flocks of sheep, where they like to pretend they are wolves.

——> See answer at the end







NOAA: ‘Nuisance flooding’ an increasing problem as coastal sea levels rise

Study looks at more than 60 years of coastal water level and local elevation data changes

July 28, 2014

Eight of the top 10 U.S. cities that have seen an increase in so-called “nuisance flooding”–which causes such public inconveniences as frequent road closures, overwhelmed storm drains and compromised infrastructure–are on the East Coast, according to a new NOAA technical report. This nuisance flooding, caused by rising sea levels, has increased on all three U.S. coasts, between 300 and 925 percent since the 1960s.

The report, Sea Level Rise and Nuisance Flood Frequency Changes around the United States, also finds Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland, lead the list with an increase in number of flood days of more than 920 percent since 1960. Port Isabel, Texas, along the Gulf coast, showed an increase of 547 percent, and nuisance flood days in San Francisco, California increased 364 percent….


No record, but Arctic sea ice will be among 10 lowest

August 1, 2014
Climate Central

The extent of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean at the end of the summer season likely won’t surpass the record low of 2012, but 2014 will still likely rank as one of the lowest minimum extents (or areas) in the record books.



The map above shows the predicted global warming impact of all anthropogenic emissions, including biomass burning, on global near-surface air temperature since 1850. The map below shows the observed change in global near-surface air temperature since 1900. The average modeled increase in temperature since 1850 is 1.0 K. The average observed increase since 1900 is 0.92 K. Most increases in temperature occur over the Arctic, which is melting quickly.

Credit: Courtesy of Mark Jacobson

Wildfires and Other Burns Play Bigger Role in Climate Change

July 31, 2014 — Research demonstrates that it isn’t just the carbon dioxide from biomass burning that’s the problem. Black carbon and brown carbon maximize the thermal impacts of such fires. They essentially allow biomass burning to cause much more global warming per unit weight than other human-associated carbon sources…. Jacobson explains that total anthropogenic, or human-created, carbon dioxide emissions, excluding biomass burning, now stand at more than 39 billion tons annually. That incorporates everything associated with non-biomass-burning human activity, from coal-fired power plants to automobile emissions, from concrete factories to cattle feedlots. Jacobson, the director of Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy Program and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy, said almost 8.5 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide — or about 18 percent of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions -comes from biomass burning. But Jacobson’s research also demonstrates that it isn’t just the CO2 from biomass burning that’s the problem. Black carbon and brown carbon maximize the thermal impacts of such fires. They essentially allow biomass burning to cause much more global warming per unit weight than other human-associated carbon sources.


Black and brown carbon particles increase atmospheric warming in three ways.


First, they enter the minuscule water droplets that form clouds. At night, that’s not an issue. But during the day, sunlight scatters around within clouds, bathing them in luminescence. When sunlight penetrates a water droplet containing black or brown carbon particles, Jacobson said, the carbon absorbs the light energy, creating heat and accelerating evaporation of the droplet.


Carbon particles floating around in the spaces between the droplets also absorb scattered sunlight, converting it to heat. “Heating the cloud reduces the relative humidity in the cloud,” Jacobson said. This causes the cloud to dissipate. And because clouds reflect sunlight, cloud dissipation causes more sunlight to transfer to the ground and seas, ultimately resulting in warmer ground and air temperatures.


Finally, Jacobson said, carbon particles released from burning biomass settle on snow and ice, contributing to further warming.”Ice and snow are white, and reflect sunlight very effectively,” Jacobson said. “But because carbon is dark it absorbs sunlight, causing snow and ice to melt at accelerated rates. That exposes dark soil and dark seas. And again, because those surfaces are dark, they absorb even more thermal energy from the sunlight, establishing an ongoing amplification process.”


Jacobson noted that some carbon particles — specifically white and gray carbon, the variants associated with some types of ash — can exert a cooling effect because they reflect sunlight. That must be weighed against the warming qualities of the black and brown carbon particles and CO2 emissions generated by biomass combustion to derive a net effect.


Jacobson said the sum of warming caused by all anthropogenic greenhouse gases — CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons and some others — plus the warming caused by black and brown carbon will yield a planetary warming effect of 2 degrees Celsius over the 20-year period simulated by the computer. But light-colored particles — white and gray particles primarily — reflect sunlight and enhance cloudiness, causing more light to reflect.


“The cooling effect of these light-colored particles amounts to slightly more than 1 C,” Jacobson said, “so you end up with a total net warming gain of 0.9 C or so. Of that net gain, we’ve calculated that biomass burning accounts for about 0.4 C.”….


“The bottom line is that biomass burning is neither clean nor climate-neutral,” he said. “If you’re serious about addressing global warming, you have to deal with biomass burning as well.”

Exposure to biomass burning particles is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, lung cancer, asthma and low birth weights. As the rate of biomass burning increases, so do the impacts to human health…..full story


Mark Z. Jacobson. Effects of biomass burning on climate, accounting for heat and moisture fluxes, black and brown carbon, and cloud absorption effects. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/2014JD021861



Climate extremes are here to stay: Expect more heat waves and cold snaps

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Researchers show how they’ve used advanced computational data science tools to demonstrate that despite global warming, we may still experience severe cold snaps due to increasing variability in temperature extremes... What they found may surprise some: While global temperature is indeed increasing, so too is the variability in temperature extremes. For instance, while each year’s average hottest and coldest temperatures will likely rise, those averages will also tend to fall within a wider range of potential high and low temperate extremes than are currently being observed. This means that even as overall temperatures rise, we may still continue to experience extreme cold snaps, said Kodra, who earned the College of Engineering’s outstanding graduate research award in 2014 and is now leading data analytics efforts at Energy Points, an innovative Boston area startup.

That is an important point in the ongoing effort to accurately inform the public about climate change. “Just because you have a year that’s colder than the usual over the last decade isn’t a rejection of the global warming hypothesis,” Kodra explained… The research also opens new areas of interest for future work, both in climate and data science. It suggests that the natural processes that drive weather anomalies today could continue to do so in a warming future. For instance, the team speculates that ice melt in hotter years may cause colder subsequent winters, but these hypotheses can only be confirmed in physics-​​based studies. The study used simulations from the most recent climate models developed by groups around the world for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and “reanalysis data sets,” which are generated by blending the best available weather observations with numerical weather models. The team combined a suite of methods in a relatively new way to characterize extremes and explain how their variability is influenced by things like the seasons, geographical region, and the land-​​sea interface. The analysis of multiple climate model runs and reanalysis data sets was necessary to account for uncertainties in the physics and model imperfections.

Evan Kodra, Auroop R. Ganguly. Asymmetry of projected increases in extreme temperature distributions. Scientific Reports, 2014; 4 DOI: 10.1038/srep05884

Southern California’s coast rarely sees lightning storms, because the weather is so stable. Could drought be destabilizing things? 

Sunday’s deadly, freak storm shows what the Golden State may face. 

By Marianne Lavelle July 29, 2014 The Daily Climate

Editor’s Note: “Climate at Your Doorstep” is an effort by The Daily Climate to highlight stories about climate change impacts happening now. Find more stories like this here.

A rare deadly lightning storm Sunday over Southern California’s Venice Beach raises questions about whether the drought-ravaged state faces new weather risks due to its changing climate. A changing climate may alter Southern California’s weather patterns, making such “freak” occurrences more common. The famed Los Angeles seaside community rarely sees lightning storms, but beachgoers rushed for cover when a thunderstorm struck at about 2:30 p.m. Four direct lightning strikes were reported, and bathers reported feeling their hair standing on end. A 20-year-old Los Angeles man was pulled from the water unconscious and later pronounced dead. The same storm swept over Santa Catalina Island off Los Angeles about 90 minutes earlier, with lightning injuring a 57-year-old golfer and igniting two brush fires. Summer is the dry season in California, with any rain at all unlikely in July. Lightning is extremely unusual on the Southern California coast at any time because the weather is so heavily influenced by the ocean, which tends to stabilize the air, said Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist in climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It takes the meeting of warm, humid layers of air with colder, sometimes icy air to produce the build-up of electrical charges that lead to lightning. 

‘Complex structure’

“On the West Coast,” Trenberth said, “you don’t have the complex vertical structure and wind shear typically associated with lightning storms.”

But a changing climate may alter those weather patterns, making such “freak” occurrences more common. California’s historic drought, for example, has the potential to set up conditions for extreme weather.  “With the drought, the contrast between the ocean and land is much greater than it otherwise would be,” said Trenberth. “It’s those contrasts that can help set up circulation and make the weather a little bit more vigorous than it otherwise would be.”

Not the only weird weather

The West Coast isn’t alone in freaky weather this week. A rare tornado smashed through Revere, Mass. on Monday, wrecking about 65 homes and businesses and uprooting trees. The National Weather Service said it was the first twister in the area since 1950. Baseball-sized hail fell in Midland, Mich.
A freak storm delivered hail and flash flooding to the United Kingdom, bringing trains and traffic to a standstill, according to the BBC. Meanwhile Washington, D.C. saw bizarre weather of its own Monday – 75 degrees and pleasant in the normally hot, muggy capital.

Forty-five strikes per second

Lightning occurs somewhere on Earth (or in the clouds) about 45 times per second, making it one of the most common extreme weather events. It is also one of the most deadly, with thousands killed by lightning strikes each year. Scientists are studying the connection between climate change and the potential for increased lightning, but they have not arrived at any clear conclusions. 

Better tools for lightning research

A Tel Aviv University researcher has predicted that for every one degree Celsius of warming, there will be approximately a 10 percent increase in lightning activity. 

But Richard Blakeslee, a lightning expert with NASA’s Airborne Science Program, says that the space agency has not detected any change in lightning patterns in the United States that could be associated with climate change. The tools for such research will soon be improving. NASA’s next geostationary satellite, GOES-R, scheduled to launch in early 2016, will have a sophisticated new lightning mapping instrument aboard. “We will be able to collect more data on lightning in the first two weeks than we’ve been able to gather in the whole 17 years of satellite monitoring of lightning,” Blakeslee said. One of the primary aims is to develop better forecasting, crucial to avoiding lightning deaths and injuries.

“Part of the issue [in the southern California storm] is because thunderstorms are so unusual, people aren’t watching for them,” said Blakeslee. 

New Zealand’s Southern Alps have lost a third of their ice

Posted on 30 July 2014 by Guest Author

By Jim Salinger, University of Auckland; Blair Fitzharris, University of Otago, and Trevor Chinn, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

A third of the permanent snow and ice of New Zealand’s Southern Alps has now disappeared, according to our new research based on National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research aerial surveys.

A NASA satellite photo of the Southern Alps, stretching along New Zealand’s South Island, shown here capped with snow in 2002. Jacques Descloitres/NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Since 1977, the Southern Alps’ ice volume has shrunk by 18.4 km3 or 34%, and those ice losses have been accelerating rapidly in the past 15 years. The story of the Southern Alps’s disappearing ice has been very dramatic – and when lined up with rapid glacier retreats in many parts of the world, raises serious questions about future sea level rise and coastal climate impacts…..


Ocean Acidification’s Far-Reaching Effects on Ecology, Economy

Wed, Jun 18, 2014 — 9:00 AM Download audio (MP3)

Courtesy Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; A freeze frame from an animation created by Sarah Cooley, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, shows predicted surface ocean pH levels.

On Monday, Congressman Jared Huffman met with scientists, fishermen and business owners in Bodega Bay to discuss a looming threat to marine ecosystems in Northern California and around the world: ocean acidification. It’s caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. The health of the oceans was also the focus of an international conference at the U.S. State Department this week. We’ll examine the problem and talk about President Obama’s plan, announced on Tuesday, to use his executive authority to create the world’s largest marine sanctuary in the south-central Pacific Ocean.

Host: Michael Krasny


  • Jared Huffman, U.S. congressman representing California’s 2nd District and co-sponsor of the Ocean Acidification Innovation Act
  • Emily Jeffers, staff attorney in the oceans program at the Center for Biological Diversity
  • John Largier, professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at UC Davis
  • Monica Medina, senior director for ocean policy at the National Geographic Society and former chief of staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Terry Sawyer, co-owner of the Hog Island Oyster Company

More info:



Changes in agriculture increase high river flow rates

Posted: 25 Jul 2014 01:35 PM PDT

Researchers have examined how changes in rainfall amounts and an increase in the amount of acreage used to grow such crops as corn and soybeans can affect the volume of river water flow in the U.S. Midwest.



Change In Antarctic Sea Ice Trend Not So Extreme, Study Finds

by Joe Romm Posted on July 23, 2014

Bottom line: Antarctic sea ice trends are an intriguing scientific puzzle worthy of academic interest, whereas Antarctic land ice trends are like the planet running around with its hair on fire, yelling “stop the madness of denial and delay.”


As Temperatures Rise, Britain Is Losing Its Waterbirds

by Katie Valentine Posted on July 31, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Two-day-old Piping Plovers emerge from under a parent after brooding under the bird in the sand on a Quonochontaug Conservation Area beach, in Westerly, R.I. CREDIT: AP Photo/Steven Senne

The number of wading birds in the U.K. has fallen steeply over the last decade, due in part to climate change forcing the birds out of their usual habitat, according to a new report. The U.K.’s Wetland Bird Survey, released this month, found that some populations of waterbirds dropped to their lowest levels in 30 or 40 years in 2012 and 2013, and that though many factors are likely contributing to these declines, climate change is likely one of them. “I think we should be quite alarmed because the declines for many of these species are pretty consistent,” Chas Holt, Head of the Wetland Bird Survey, told the Guardian. “Species like the ringed plover, redshank and dunlin, their decline has been consistent for 10 to 20 years now. And there is no obvious change happening, so in 10 years time we could be well down on numbers.” Climate change’s impact on birds around the world has been well-documented. One study, from researchers at Duke University, found that rising temperatures were forcing birds in Peru to shift their ranges uphill as lower altitudes warm. But the study also found that the birds weren’t shifting fast enough to keep up with a warming climate. “[These birds] tend to have very small ranges, which makes them more vulnerable to threats, be that human threats or climate change or whatever, Study author German Forero-Medina told WUNC. “If warming continues, eventually they might run out of habitat.”

A report from the National Wildlife Federation last year outlined the multitude of risks that birds are facing from climate change, including mismatches in migration time, food, and resources at their migration destination. This mismatch can be caused by earlier-than-usual springs, or springtime weather that gets warm and then dips down into low temperatures again. Many species of migratory birds depend on triggers such as changes in day length to know when to migrate, but if spring starts earlier in their migration destination region, they may arrive to find that they’ve missed the bud burst or insect hatching that they need to sustain themselves….


Fire near Yosemite turns up heat on California wildfire season

By Lisa M. Krieger San Jose Mercury News Posted:   07/29/2014

Cal Fire crew members mop up embers of the Sand Fire in the rugged foothills of El Dorado county near Plymouth, Calif., on Monday, July 28, 2014, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater) ( STEVE YEATER )

For the second year in a row, flames in Yosemite National Park are turning up the heat on California’s wildfire season, fueled by one of the most severe droughts in decades. But despite dangerously dry conditions, tens of thousands of lightning strikes and a remarkably early start, aggressive firefighting has helped keep this year’s fire season surprisingly mild — so far. As of Sunday, a total of 51,903 acres have burned in California this year, slightly below the 60,379 five-year average for this time of year, according to totals from the U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire…..



Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies

Posted: 27 Jul 2014 01:57 PM PDT

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution — specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops. A new study shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.


These Maps Show How Big Data Can Fight Climate Change

by Kiley Kroh Posted on July 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm

New maps released Tuesday illustrate the toll climate change and pollution are taking on several communities in Los Angeles, many of the same areas that also hold the greatest potential for clean energy investment. The Los Angeles Solar and Efficiency Report (LASER) is the result of a partnership between the Environmental Defense Fund and UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. The groups say their work is a prime example of how big data can be used to engage citizens in the challenges and opportunities associated with climate change right in their own neighborhoods. While climate change will drive up temperatures in Los Angeles, a particular concern for at-risk communities already burdened by pollution, the analysis found major potential for solar and energy efficiency projects. Realizing just ten percent of the city’s untapped rooftop solar potential, for instance, would create 47,000 solar installation jobs and could reduce carbon pollution by nearly 2.5 million tons annually — the equivalent of taking more than half a million cars off the road every year….






California breaks drought record as 58% of state hits driest level

An egret searches for food in a nearly dry canal near Red Bluff in Northern California. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

By Joseph Serna LATIMES July 31 2014

  • More than half of California now in exceptional drought, federal report says
  • Drought conditions in California worst in report’s history, official says

More than half of California is now under the most severe level of drought for the first time since the federal government began issuing regular drought reports in the late 1990s, according to new data released Thursday. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor report, in July roughly 58% of California was considered to be experiencing an “exceptional” drought — the harshest on a five-level scale.

This is the first year that any part of California has seen that level of drought, let alone more than half of it, said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center, which issued the report. “You keep beating the record, which are still all from this year,” he said.
The entire state has been in severe drought since May, but more of it has since fallen into more severe categories — “extreme” and “exceptional.” Nearly 22% more of California was added into the exceptional drought category in the last week alone….


An overview of California’s ongoing and extraordinary drought: a tale of exceptional dryness and record warmth

Filed in Uncategorized by Daniel Swain on July 20, 2014 • 179 Comments

Event narrative

Droughts historically have a way of sneaking up on California, and the extraordinary 2012-2014 drought has been no exception.

California precipitation during 2013 was by far the lowest on record. (NOAA/NCDC)

Year-to-year and even season-to-season rainfall variability is quite high in this part of the world, which means that it’s nearly impossible to know whether a single dry year (or season) portends the beginning of a much more prolonged or intense dry period. Indeed–the 2012-2013 rainy season had an extremely wet start–so wet, in fact, that an additional large storm during December 2012 would likely have led to serious and widespread flooding throughout Northern California. But no additional significant storms did occur during December 2012–nor during January 2013…nor February, March, April, or May. In fact, January-June 2013 was the driest start to the calendar year  on record for the state of California in at least 118 years of record keeping. Some parts of the state saw virtually no precipitation at all during this period, which made for an especially stark contrast with the extremely wet conditions experienced just a few months earlier….



North American waterfowl are newest casualty of California’s drought

By Matt Weiser Sacramento Bee July 30, 2014 

A mallard duck ruffles its feathers near Portuguese Park in the Pocket Canal, which bisects Sacramento’s Pocket neighborhood on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif., where officials removed approximately 10-20 dead ducks Tuesday. Wildlife officials are asking the public to help watch for sick waterfowl that may be suffering due to the drought. Avian botulism is more likely to spread when birds cluster in small pockets of water. Already, several dozen dead birds have been reported at locations across the state. RANDY PENCH —

Add another casualty to California’s prolonged and punishing drought: Wildlife officials warned this week that dry conditions in the state’s Central Valley could have a devastating effect on North American waterfowl.

The Central Valley is recognized as the most important resting and wintering ground on the Pacific Flyway, a global migratory path for millions of ducks, geese and other birds. About 5 million waterfowl spend the winter on state and federal wildlife refuge areas and flooded rice fields in the Central Valley each winter. This year, the worst drought in a generation means those Central Valley habitats have been dramatically reduced in size. Wildlife refuges have had their state and federal water supplies cut by 25 percent. Rice acreage has been reduced by a similar amount as farmers also have endured water cutbacks.

As a result, millions of migrating birds will be crowded into less habitat, significantly increasing the odds of botulism outbreaks, which spread rapidly and can kill thousands of birds in a matter of days. The problem is not limited to rural areas but can affect waterfowl drawn to urban water bodies as well. Officials also are concerned the drought could cause food shortages. Already, at least 1,700 waterfowl have died at Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge near the Oregon border. Between 10 and 20 ducks were found dead Tuesday in a canal that flows through Sacramento’s Pocket neighborhood, near Portuguese Community Park. A similar number of birds were found dead recently in a city pond in Hesperia in San Bernardino County. Avian botulism is suspected in each case, though laboratory verification is pending….








Roadside Land Offers Huge Carbon Storage Potential

Published: July 27th, 2014 By Marianne Lavelle, The Daily Climate

As you watch the miles roll by on family road trips this summer, look just behind the guard rails to see what some scientists believe is a significant untapped resource in the battle against climate change.

Road banks and berms could be managed as valuable “banks” for carbon sequestration.Credit: Harry Rose/flickr

The land alongside the 4 million miles of U.S. public roadways, already being maintained by federal, state, and local governments, could be planted with vegetation that helps transfer carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, they say. Road banks and berms, in other words, could be managed as valuable “banks” for carbon sequestration….Shrubs, grasses, and other plants already along roads in U.S. National Parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands currently are capturing about 7 million metric tons of carbon each year, Ament said in a report on his findings at this month’s North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Missoula.  That’s equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 5 million cars—without any effort made to optimize the mix of plantings and soil management practices for carbon storage.   Add to that the strips of shrubbery and grass along U.S. highways outside federal lands. A previous study by the Federal Highway Administration concluded such roadside greenery stores enough carbon to counter the annual emissions of 2.6 million passenger cars. Together, the roadside soils and vegetation on federal lands and along U.S. highways, comprising 10.5 percent of all public roads in the nation, are already capturing nearly 2 percent of total U.S. transportation carbon emissions, said Ament, whose team conducted the research for the Highway Administration’s federal lands office….New Mexico has a five-year, $1 million grant from the federal Highway Authority to research methods for boosting carbon capture along the 7,500 miles of state road in its semi-arid environment. Testing different plantings and techniques over the past year, the state boosted carbon capture on roadsides to from 35 percent to 350 percent over areas that weren’t actively managed. Native grasses produced the biggest gains, in the state’s prairie regions. There are other benefits. Mowing less frequently – letting grass grow 8 inches instead of the normal 6 inches  – saves fuel, labor and stores more carbon. “There’s a win-win to a lot of what we’re doing,” said Rick Wessel, of the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s environmental development section. Another benefit: New Mexico and other states might be able to earn revenue from sale of carbon credits for taking such steps…..


Commission Calls for California to Lead in Climate Change Adaptation

Twain Harte News Staff — July 24, 2014

The Little Hoover Commission recently sent a message to the state’s leaders: California is beginning to see the initial effects of a warming climate as ongoing efforts by world governments fall short in reducing carbon emissions. Governments statewide must plan now for the impacts of climate change. The Little Hoover Commission is a bipartisan and independent state agency charged with recommending ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs. A new anticipated environmental reality beginning to envelop California includes a Pacific Ocean rising along 1,100 miles of shoreline, irregular precipitation that includes downpours and drought, higher temperatures, larger, more destructive wildfires and diminishing snowfalls. All suggest eventual damage to property, infrastructure and the natural environment, higher insurance rates, disruption of supply chains and financial insecurity.

“It is already too late to head off impacts of climate change. Even as actions to curb greenhouse gases continue, California must prepare for the inevitable,” said Little Hoover Commission Chairman Pedro Nava. “Preparing well will cost far less than rebuilding infrastructure and managing emergencies.”

In its report, “Governing California Through Climate Change,” the Little Hoover Commission calls on the Governor and Legislature to assume the same leadership role in climate change adaptation and risk assessment as it has for addressing greenhouse gases that contribute to a warming atmosphere. “State government in California sets the pace in reducing carbon emissions. The Commission asks the state to exercise the same global leadership in climate adaptation,” said Mr. Nava.

During a year-long study, the Commission found encouragement in efforts by state agencies to understand the climate challenge and gauge California’s vulnerability. However, “There is not much of a game plan beyond a growing stack of studies and plans,” the report states.

The Commission found that there is no single-stop administrative structure in place to create statewide climate adaptation policy, overcome institutional barriers and govern the state’s response to climate change impacts. Adaptation efforts are scattered throughout the bureaucracies of state government. The Commission also found that there is no single authoritative source of clear, standardized information to guide decision-making in contentious arenas such as land use and infrastructure investment. Witnesses testifying at three Commission hearings told the Commission that the state has become good at telling people they may be in danger. But it has not been able to define that danger well at the level of four square blocks in a particular city. Local governments need standardized, authoritative and science-based information on which to base decisions. The state, in short, is still largely unable to tell most Californians what to do about the danger they face…..




SPECIAL REPORT: Crossroads in climate negotiations when adaptation and mitigation meet in Bonn

By Stephen Leonard July 31, 2014

At a glance :

  • During the Bonn session in June, it seemed that Parties became more accepting of the synergies and linkages between mitigation and adaptation. However, identification of the technical details and development of modalities concerning the relationships between mitigation and adaptation has not yet been considered within the UNFCCC. Many Parties have mentioned that such information would be useful.
  • Recognition of the links between adaptation and mitigation has been argued for inclusion in the Paris Agreement and it can be expected that the discussion will be ongoing into the October ADP inter-sessional (ADP 2-6) and COP20 in Lima.

The June round of climate negotiations commenced with wide recognition amongst Parties of the need for deeper cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to be accelerating negotiations based on the outcomes of the 5th Assessment Report (AR5) released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this year. This session was the last opportunity for Parties to meet before the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit, to be held in New York in September – the first time world leaders have met on the issue since the failed 2009 Copenhagen Conference. High expectations for finance announcements are expected from this meeting. …. As a part of this process, a series of Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) are being held. These intend to provide Parties with insights, experiences from the ground, examples of success stories, and challenges for scaling up of mitigation actions before 2020. During the June session, a TEM on Land Use was held with expert panellists from civil society organisations, intergovernmental organisations and country delegates. The major conclusions were that:

  • there is high mitigation potential from the forest and agricultural sectors whilst contributing to adaptation;
  • scaling up of finance, technology and capacity building is required for the sector to reach its potential;
  • success will require long term sectoral policies;
  • participatory multi-stakeholder dialogues should commence at early stages;
  • there remains a high interest in REDD+;
  • it is necessary to identify tradeoffs and safeguards against potential negative impacts on food security, rights of indigenous peoples and
    biodiversity. …

…. Recognition of the links between adaptation and mitigation has been argued for inclusion in the Paris Agreement and it can be expected that the discussion will be ongoing into the October ADP inter-sessional (ADP 2-6) and COP 20. Further, the non-paper released by the ADP Chairs following the session identifies Party positions on the linkages, such as defining the relationships between mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage as well as potential for institutional linkages between the two as mutually supportive notions. The Co Chairs of the ADP have also now issued a new reflections note on progress, a draft decision on pre-2020 ambition and a draft decision on INDCs to assist Parties between now and the next ADP intercessional in October. Several Parties mentioned that a failure in Lima will guarantee a failure in Paris. As things move forward, all Parties will need to consider whether another major climate summit failure is something that the world can afford.


Searca, IRRI: Global warming to decrease PHL rice production

30 Jul
2014 Written by Alladin S. Diega | Correspondent

LATEST crop-simulation modeling and analyses showed that temperature increase is likely to result in rice-yield reduction, a joint statement by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) said on Wednesday. “Global warming is likely to lead to drier conditions, which will result to a decrease in area planted, hence, affecting rice overall production in the Philippines,” according to the study titled “Impact on Climate Change on the Philippine Rice Sector: Supply/Demand Projections and Policy.” The study, a collaboration between Searca and the IRRI,  concludes the impact of climate change on rice farming in the Philippines, explaining that crop yields were estimated and compared for different possible climate scenarios, which included incremental increases in temperature change in rainfall volume and distribution, and increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Adaptive measures, however, were in place and is already showing positive reports, the study said….Included in the good practices surveyed were adjusting the crop calendar, updating of weather-based dynamic cropping calendar based on crop-yield probabilities, planting more resistant or climate stress-tolerant crop varieties, and employing crop-diversification and crop-livestock integration….




Kyrgyzstan revives pre-Soviet traditions for climate adaptation

Efforts to revive traditional knowledge in Kyrgyzstan are safeguarding its wild walnut forests for future generations

Traditional knowledge in Kyrgyzstan, like how to build a yurt, is transmitted by the elder generations (Pic: dwrawlinson/Flickr)

Sophie Yeo
July 31, 2014
Last updated on 31 July 2014, 8:08 am

In early April, the villagers of Samarkandek, Kyrgyzstan, react with a curious enthusiasm to the sight of apricots coming into bloom. As soon as the flowers emerge, old and young gather for the Festival of Blooming Apricots to recite poetry, sing and dance in celebration of the oncoming harvest. It may sound like a quaint old custom upheld mainly by history enthusiasts – think wassailing in England – but in fact this particular festival is an innovation. The festival began four years ago, inaugurated by Akylbek Kasymov, founder of environmental charity Foundation Bio Muras in Kyrgyzstan. It is more than an attempt at cultural revival. Kasymov hoped that, by bringing together elders with younger generations, they would be able to pass on their old traditions, once practised by pastoral communities, but now fading fast. The Kyrgyz people have started to realise that such skills, now all but vanished from their collective memory, could prove vital in helping them deal with the changes that climate change is set to impose on their landscape and their way of life







Religious Conservatives Embrace Pollution Fight


Conservative religious leaders… reasserted their support for President Obama’s environmental policies at public hearings on new E.P.A. pollution rules….


Feds Consider Ban On Bluefin Tuna Fishing As Population Dips 95 Percent

by Ari Phillips Posted on July 24, 2014

On Wednesday, the fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it’s considering a ban on recreational and commercial fishing of Pacific bluefin tuna.


Congressional rift over environment influences public

Posted: 31 Jul 2014 06:53 AM PDT

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research. The gap between conservatives who oppose environmental protection and liberals who support it has risen drastically in the past 20 years, a trend seen among lawmakers, activists and — as the study indicates — the general public as well, said a sociologist….



How One Agency Could Threaten Obama’s Climate Goals

by Tom Kenworthy Posted on July 29, 2014

If the BLM gives final approval for a plan to authorize sales of 10 billion tons of coal from the Powder River Basin it would lock in massive amounts of carbon pollution for decades to come.






Gulf Oil Spill Researcher: Bacteria Ate Some Toxins, but Worst Remain, Research Finds

July 31, 2014 — Bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico consumed many of the toxic components of the oil released during the Deepwater Horizon spill in the months after the spill, but not the most toxic contaminants, new … full story

Judge halts exploratory wells near Pinnacles

July 31 2104 Salinas Californian, California

A Monterey County Superior Court judge has issued a preliminary ruling that San Benito County unlawfully approved an oil-development project near Pinnacles National Park that could result in hundreds of wells being drilled in important agricultural and wildlife habitat in the Salinas Valley watershed. The recent lawsuit was brought against San Benito County for allowing a project involving 15 exploratory wells operated by Newport Beach-based Citadel Exploration to move forward without an environmental impact report, or EIR. The plaintiff, Center for Biological Diversity, argued that the project would be dangerous to the area’s condor foraging habitat and risk polluting the watershed that drains into the Salinas River. Because of these risks, San Benito County was obligated to conduct an EIR according to the California Environmental, attorneys for the Center for Biological Diversity successfully argued….


Solar energy: Dyes help harvest light

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 07:40 AM PDT

A new dye-sensitized solar cell absorbs a broad range of visible and infrared wavelengths. Dye-sensitized solar cells rely on dyes that absorb light to mobilize a current of electrons and are a promising source of clean energy. Scientists have now developed zinc porphyrin dyes that harvest light in both the visible and near-infrared parts of the spectrum.


New catalyst converts carbon dioxide to fuel

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Scientists have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing the process closer to commercial viability.





West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel: An Exciting New Vision

The West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel has a new website. Learn more about the scientists on the Panel, explore their vision, and discover how they are advancing a bold new knowledge base in service of the region’s future. The panel was established in 2013 by the California Ocean Protection Council. The website will provide a venue to disseminate and distribute products that are produced by the Panel as they work to summarize information on key themes identified by decision makers



Considering Multiple Futures: Scenario Planning to Address Uncertainty in Natural Resource Conservation (pdf)

a range of scenario planning approaches and 12 case studies of how the approach is being applied to natural resource management and climate change issues in the U.S., thisnew report was produced by WCS and USFWS.




Climate-Smart Guide, Part II

The Art of the Possible: Identifying Adaptation Options– webinar recording from July

Presenters include:

  • Susan Julius- EPA Global Change Impacts & Adaptation Research Program
  • Jordan M. West – EPA Global Change Impacts & Adaptation Research Program
  • Molly S. Cross – Wildlife Conservation Society

Description: This webinar is the second in a series focused on the recently released guide, Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice. Armed with an understanding of climate vulnerabilities in the context of climate-informed goals, the next step is to identify a full range of possible adaptation responses. This webinar will focus on Chapter 8 of the Guide and will look at a process for using vulnerability information as the basis for generating specific adaptation options. Case studies will be used to illustrate identification of options, considerations for maximizing climate-smart “design” of options, and applicability of options in the context of the dual pathways of managing for change and persistence.


Also, if you missed our last Safeguarding webinar on “The National Climate Assessment: Actionable Science for Natural Systems” held June 3rd, a recording is available at:


A Climate-Smart Approach to Adaptive Management of North-central CA Coast and Ocean  August 7, 2014 1:00-2:00 PM PST
Speaker Sara Hutto will discuss the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary’s Climate-Smart Adaptation Project for the North-central California Coast and Ocean which will produce a comprehensive and prioritized adaptation implementation plan. The project has engaged scientists and resource managers to develop vulnerability assessments for focal resources. This information is guiding adaptive management through a working group of local stakeholders. The sanctuary will develop a detailed implementation plan and design pilot living shoreline projects. Click here to register. Click here for details of this CA LCC Project.



Our Coast, Our Future- New State-of-the-Art SF Bay Mapping Tool August 27 and September 3— both 10-11 am

For sea level rise and storms inside San Francisco Bay. OCOF staff will demonstrate this new, state-of-the-art planning tool and answer your questions. The tool will help Bay Area planners understand, visualize, and anticipate LOCAL coastal and bayside climate change impacts. More info:


Connecting Farmers & Ranchers to Innovative Technology in Bat Conservation
NRCS Webinars—through August 27, 2014; Wednesdays, 11 AM Pacific

Bat Conservation International is pleased to announce the dates for our NRCS Webinar Series entitled “Connecting Farmers & Ranchers to Innovative Technology in Bat Conservation“.    Webinars will be held on Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. Central. 

Topics include:

7/23 – Bats and Integrated Pest Management part I

7/30 – Bats and Integrated Pest Management part II

  8/6 –  Bats, Agriculture, and Water for Wildlife

8/13 – Bats, Agriculture, and Wildlife Habitat Monitoring

8/20 – Bats, Agriculture, and Wind Energy Development

8/27 – Bats, Agriculture, and Mine Closures

The webinars are open to all NRCS staff and any producers who would like to attend.  Please feel free to forward this information to other interested parties.  Anyone not already on our e-mail list can register for the series at (if you received this e-mail directly, you do not need to register).



99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
Sacramento, California  August 10-15, 2014


California Adaptation Forum 
August 19-20, 2014

This two-day forum will build off a successful National Adaptation Forum held in Colorado in 2013. The attendance of many California leaders there underscored the need for a California-focused event, which will be held every other year to complement the biennial national conference.  To register go to:


***SAVE THE DATE!!***  Sponsored by the CA LCC and CA Dept. of Water Resources

Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workshop September 23rd, 2014 @ California State University, Sacramento

Registration will open in June 2014. Check the California LCC website for details:


Ninth International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) World Congress meeting, July 9th 2015

Coming to Portland, Oregon July 5-10, 2015! The symposium, which is held every four years, brings scientists and practitioners from around the globe together to discuss and share landscape ecology work and information. The theme of the 2015 meeting is Crossing Scales, Crossing Borders: Global Approaches to Complex Challenges.




JOBS  (apologies for any duplication; thanks for passing along)



Richardson Bay Audubon Center at TiburonEducation and Engagement Manager,



California State Coastal Conservancy has opened a second round of Climate Ready grants for local governments and non-profit organizations. A total of $1.5 million is available with applications due on August 22.





The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future
(Columbia University Press)

Naomi Oreskes is a professor of the history of science at Harvard University. Erik Conway is a historian of science and technology at the California Institute of Technology.

The year is 2393, and the world is almost unrecognizable. Clear warnings of climate catastrophe went ignored for decades, leading to soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, widespread drought and — finally — the disaster now known as the Great Collapse of 2093, when the disintegration of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet led to mass migration and a complete reshuffling of the global order. Writing from the Second People’s Republic of China on the 300th anniversary….








Natural-terrain schoolyards reduce children’s stress, says study

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Playing in schoolyards that feature natural habitats and trees and not just asphalt and recreation equipment reduces children’s stress and inattention, according to a study.


Fist bumps relay 90 percent less germs than handshakes: study

July 28 2104 NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ditching handshakes in favor of more informal fist bumps could help cut down on the spread of bacteria and illnesses, according to a study released on Monday.


Tidal forces gave moon its shape, according to new analysis

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 10:31 AM PDT

The shape of the moon deviates from a simple sphere in ways that scientists have struggled to explain. A new study shows that most of the moon’s overall shape can be explained by taking into account tidal effects acting early in the moon’s history.


The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals

Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each uses a different mechanism for protecting skin and maintaining stability in sunlight. Each may pose hazards to human health. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A handful of products combine zinc oxide with chemical filters….


Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages during adolescence impairs memory, animal study suggests

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 07:49 PM PDT

Daily consumption of beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose can impair the ability to learn and remember information, particularly when consumption occurs during adolescence, a study done in rats suggests.


Eating tree nuts results in ‘modest decreases’ in blood fats and sugars, survey finds

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 07:49 PM PDT

Eating tree nuts appears to help reduce two of the five markers for metabolic syndrome, a group of factors that raise the risk for heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and strokes, a new research paper says.


Five daily portions of fruit and vegetables may be enough to lower risk of early death

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 07:49 PM PDT

Eating five daily portions of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, particularly from cardiovascular disease, but beyond five portions appears to have no further effect, finds a new study.












Radar Roost Ring

Here’s a radar “roost ring” detected around 5:30 am this morning along the Kankakee River in NW Indiana. A roost ring is a detection of birds as they leave their morning roosting site. Although the radar cannot determine the particular species, this ring could likely be comprised of Purple Martins that tend to congregate in large groups prior to the start of the late summer/early fall migration. If you watch our radar in the coming weeks during the early morning, you’ll have the opportunity to see more roost rings. Check out this article on roost rings courtesy of the NWS Wilmington, OH office.













Common gray foxes are one of the most common mammals in California, but since these animals are active at night it can be very hard to spot one. One of the places you may want to look is:

ANSWER: (c) “Up – they can sometimes be found lounging in trees.” Common gray foxes have the ability to climb trees to look for food, escape from danger, or simply to lounge around on a favorite branch. They can even jump between branches.

SOURCE: BLM California Wildlife Database (BLM Webiste)

RELATED: Rare Daytime Sighting Caught on Ocotillo Wells SVRA Critter Cam!
(Ocotillo Wells SVRA Facebook)




Ellie Cohen, President and CEO

Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO)

3820 Cypress Drive, Suite 11, Petaluma, CA 94954

707-781-2555 x318  | Follow Point Blue on Facebook!


Point Blue—Conservation science for a healthy planet.


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