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Humanity Will Continue to Live an Inferior Life Than What is Possible Until the Two Halves: All Individuals in Them: That Make It are Absolutely Fundamentally and Jubilantly Equal at Liberty
 

 

Year Gamma: London: Wednesday: October 18: 2017
The Arkive

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Ecology Arkive 2017: Q-Beta || April ||  May ||  June ||

 

 
 

Ecology Arkive 2017: Q-Beta || April ||  May ||  June ||

 

New Advances in Research Into Cloud-Aerosol Interaction



|| June 29: 2017 || ά. In order to explain global climate change, increasingly accurate understanding of aerosols and their interaction with clouds is needed. Even today, the role of aerosols continues to be the most important uncertainty factor relating to climate change. Unlike greenhouse gases, aerosols cool down the climate but estimates of their cooling effect remain rather inaccurate. Aerosols are known to form cloud droplets and clouds are known to affect the radiation balance of the atmosphere. For years, scientists have been keen to uncover factors contributing to the formation of cloud droplets. The new study published in Nature now takes this line of research one step further.

Each cloud droplet contains at least one aerosol particle. In other words, cloud droplets need a condensation nucleus. "For us, the most important thing has been to identify, which aerosol particles eventually become cloud droplets and which don't." says Professor Ari Laaksonen from the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. "Very small particles are usually not very effective condensation nuclei due to the high surface tension of water. However, the situation changes if these particles contain compounds, that reduce surface tension sufficiently." An article published in Nature in 1999 observed that when a large amount of mist water was collected in a container, organic compounds found in water were effective in reducing the water's surface tension, which led scientists to conclude that the reduced surface tension, also, affected the formation of mist droplets.

However, Professor Laaksonen and his colleagues noticed that the findings contained a shortcoming, which the authors of the article hadn't taken into consideration. "Compounds,that reduce surface tension, surfactants, are, of course, effective on the water surface. If water in a laboratory container is broken down into tiny droplets, the water's surface area grows significantly. Consequently, the concentration of organic compounds on the water surface becomes so low that it, may, no longer have much effect on the water's surface tension." Professor Laaksonen says.

"According to theoretical calculations, however, certain kinds of 'super' surfactants could affect the formation of cloud droplets, but up until now, scientists hadn't been able to find such compounds among atmospheric aerosols." Now, however, scientists have discovered aerosols, that are very effective cloud nuclei. These aerosols were found in measurements carried out for the new study in the North Atlantic. The aerosols contained sulphate and organic compounds and their effects on cloud formation could not be explained by anything else than reduced surface tension. Although, the organic molecules within the aerosols could not be identified precisely, the measurements provided sufficient data for modelling of the phenomenon.

This made it possible to conclude that due to droplet phase separation, the droplet is divided into two parts and only the surface of the droplet has organic compounds on it. This is enough to reduce the surface tension, making it easier for the condensation nucleus to grow into a cloud droplet.

"We have confirmed that in some cases, reduced surface tension can help droplets turn into cloud droplets. This means that the number of cloud droplets, that form can be significantly higher than predicted by current climate models. Next, we'll study whether this phenomenon exists globally and how this new information affects climate change modelling."
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For further information, contact: Research Professor Ari Laaksonen: tel. +358 40 513 7900: ari.laaksonen at fmi.fi

The Paper: Surface tension prevails over solute effect in organic-influenced cloud droplet activation. Jurgita Ovadnevaite, Andreas Zuend, Ari Laaksonen, Kevin J. Sanchez, Greg Roberts, Darius Ceburnis, Stefano Decesari, Matteo Rinaldi, Natasha Hodas, Maria Cristina Facchini, John H. Seinfeld and Colin O' Dowd Nature 2017 doi:10.1038/nature22806

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Growing Pains in Tibet's Largest Lake

Image: Chinese Academy of Sciences

 

|| June 25: 2017: Chinese Academy of Sciences News || ά. The area where Mr Rigzin Chophel played with his childhood friends is now at the bottom of a lake, and he is worried that more land will be submerged. The 45-year-old herdsman lives in Tseten village on the southern bank of Serling Tso Lake, which has expanded over 40 percent between 1976 and 2009. The village has around 42,000 hectares of land for herdspeople to raise their cattle. Mr Rigzin has been the Director of the village Party committee for the last 15 years.

"Over a dozen families have complained to me that their land has been inundated by the lake. Five of them have suffered great losses." he said. Herdsman Mr Nordey pointed towards a lakeside area and said that that was where he used to live. "About six years ago, the lake was expanding very fast. There were fences between my house and the lake and every year I had to move the fences closed to the house." he said. The herdsman said that he had now built a new home a few miles back away from the lake.

Ten years ago, the lake was expanding at an even faster pace than it is now, said Mr Rigzin. "We marked the area of the lake. It expanded by 20 to 30 steps a year, especially, noticeable low-lying areas." said Mr Rigzin. According to the latest data, which was obtained in 2014, Serling Tso measured 2,391 square kilometres. It has replaced the Buddhist holy lake Namtso as Tibet's largest lake at about 45.5 kilometres wide and 77.7 kilometres in length.

Since 1990, the plateau's 1,000 lakes have seen an increase of 100 billion cubic metres of water, with Serling Tso probably the fastest-growing lake, according to scientists from the Institute of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Research of Chinese Academy of Sciences:CAS.

Preliminary studies by the CAS found that precipitation contributed 76.5 percent of the increase, thawing glaciers about 09.5 percent and diminishing evaporation contributed about 14 percent. CAS scientists said that they would continue to unravel the mystery behind the lake expansion and attempt to find solutions for its future development.

About 100 scientists recently began a expedition on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to study changes in climate, biodiversity and environment. The expedition, which will last for five to 10 years, is the second of its kind in the last 40 years. Mr Zhu Liping, a CAS researcher leading the lake observation team, said that they would study the whole water system from Serling Tso to the origin of the Yangtze River.

"We will study the existing lake and river resources, obtain samples and compare new data with that obtained 40 years ago." said Zhu. "We hope our study will provide a base for further studies on the development of the eco-system on the Tibetan Plateau." he said.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Unique Decade-Long Climate Change Experiment Opens in Birmingham

Professor Alice Roberts, Professor Michael Tausz and Professor Sir David Eastwood formally open the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research

 

|| June 25: 2017: University of Birmingham News || ά. A major new decade-long series of experiments to study the impact of climate and environmental change on woodlands has been officially opened in Staffordshire. Named the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research at the University of Birmingham:BIFOR, the Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment:FACE facility will assess the impact of rising carbon dioxide:CO2 levels on whole forest ecosystems. This will be achieved by artificially raising the CO2 level around patches of mature woodland without enclosing or damaging the woodland.

The results will help scientists to predict the effects of the atmospheric changes expected by 2050 and to measure the capacity of the forest to lock away carbon released by fossil fuel burning. Before an invited audience from the region, from research and the forest sector, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood. Welcome addresses, highlighting the opportunities for scientific and educational partnerships, were given by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor of Public Engagement in Science Alice Roberts and BIFOR Director Professor Michael Tausz.

Professor Tausz said, “This is an unparalleled opportunity to really gain an insight into the reality of climate and environment change in this state of the art facility. BIFoR FACE is a technological marvel. Built into existing woodland without the use of concrete foundations or guy ropes, the facility gently delivers its enriched-CO2 atmosphere to 30-metre patches of 160-year-old oaks.

The impact of changing CO2 should show up in the leaf chemistry of exposed trees within days, and in the soil within weeks. Within 3 years, stem growth, canopy structure, and a host of other structural forest elements should be different in the patches exposed to elevated CO2."

Fellow BIFOR Director, Professor Rob MacKenzie said, “Continuing out to 2026, the ‘push’ provided by the elevated CO2 will pass through all the checks and balances of a mature forest ecosystem, allowing, as each year passes, increasingly better estimates to be made of the extent and capacity of the land carbon sink in 2050 and beyond.”

The BIFOR FACE facility is unique in the northern hemisphere and one of only three worldwide. The experiment will be the first to produce concrete evidence about the ability of temperate woodland to mitigate future climate change. Multiple experiments will be run alongside the primary CO2 research project, looking at how raised CO2 levels are likely to affect the whole ecosystem, from leaves to soil and from insects to fungi.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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High Temperatures and Not Ocean Acidification is Threatening the Growth of Coral



|| June 23: 2017: University of Western Australia News || ά. The Achilles’ heel of coral growth is high temperatures and not ocean acidification, according to researchers from the University of Western Australia and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. The research was presented tomorrow in Canberra at the Coral Reef Futures Symposium. The researchers say that coral will find it increasingly difficult to build strong skeletons as the world’s oceans rapidly warm. Global-scale coral bleaching events are becoming more frequent and intense, potentially, compromising the future of coral reefs.

Lead researcher Professor Malcolm McCulloch from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the University of Western Australia found that under ocean acidification, coral can still build skeletons or calcify. However, they lose this ability when they bleach under the extreme heat events, that now characterise global warming. Professor McCulloch said that coral calcification, a process vital for building reefs, was dependent on a partnership between coral and their photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae.

“Coral fine-tune their internal pH to maximise the supply of carbon and energy from their zooxanthellae. This can then lead to calcification or skeleton-building.” Professor McCulloch said.

“However, when there are abrupt increases in seawater temperatures this relationship breaks down, the coral becomes stressed and expels its zooxanthellae. This leaves it with little energy to survive. Unless the temperature drops and the zooxanthellae are able to recolonise in the coral, the coral, may, die.”

Stony coral builds the tropical coral reef networks, that dominate many shallow-water environments, harbouring more than one-third of the oceans’ biodiversity. Professor McCulloch examined massive Porite coral collected from the Great Barrier Reef:GBR and from Coral Bay Ningaloo Reef. A coral core collected from the GBR was used to look directly at the impact of the global bleaching event of 1998, which is still the warmest summer on record for the central section of the GBR.

One of Professor McCulloch’s studies concludes that the increasing frequency and intensity of coral bleaching events due to CO2-driven global warming is the greatest immediate threat to the growth of shallow-water reef-building corals, rather than the closely associated process of ocean acidification.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Edinburgh to Host the Third International Natural Capital Conference 2017: November 27-28



|| June 22: 2017 || ά. The third World Forum on Natural Capital, the global gathering focused on this fast-evolving issue, will take place later this year in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. The 2017 World Forum will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on November 27-28 and will bring together the latest developments and the leading actors, with a focus on mainstreaming natural capital considerations into decision-making. Senior figures from the United Nations Environment Programme, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Natural Capital Coalition and the Green Economy Coalition will be joined by high profile leaders in business, politics, finance and media, as well as thought leaders from academia and prominent NGOs.

The most recent World Forum, held in 2015, welcomed 600 business leaders, government representatives and environmental experts from 45 countries to Scotland’s capital city, with contributions from a range of high profile figures including Sir Richard Branson, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the First Minister of Scotland, Ms Nicola Sturgeon. Natural capital represents the value of nature to people, society, businesses and the economy. It is the stocks of physical and biological resources and the capacity of ecosystems to provide a flow of services that contribute to human wellbeing and sustainable development. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report for 2017 gives more prominence to environmental concerns than ever before with all five risks in the environmental category being assessed as above average for both impact and likelihood.

A growing body of evidence, including analysis of S and P 500 companies, suggests that companies, which build natural capital and sustainability into their strategies, are outperforming their competitors. With growing environmental pressures and global political change, the topic has never been more important. Mr Jonny Hughes, Programme Director for the World Forum, said, “The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report for 2017 gives more prominence to environmental concerns than ever before, with all five risks in the environmental category being assessed as above average for both impact and likelihood.

This will have profound impacts for business, governments and society, and managing our natural capital sustainably will be one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. At the 2017 World Forum we will be exploring how applying the principles of natural capital can improve decision-making within business, government and finance, both in terms of the benefits to the bottom line and the achievement of wider social, economic and environmental goals.

We look forward to working once again with our international partners and are delighted to be joined this year by the Green Economy Coalition, the world's largest multi-stakeholder network working on green economy issues, to help ensure that progress on the green economy and natural capital go hand in hand.”

The theme for the third World Forum will be Better Decisions for a Better World. Delegates can register for the event at a super early bird rate until July 31 at naturalcapitalforum.com.

The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 Evidence Report and Scotland-specific summary, identifies significant threats to our natural capital and the goods and services it provides, from timber, food and clean water to pollination, carbon storage and the cultural benefits of landscapes and wildlife.

Recent research carried out by the Central Scotland Green Network with the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital showed that over 70% of businesses in Central Scotland believe that urgent action is necessary to protect and enhance Scotland’s natural capital. The research also revealed that over 60% of businesses see natural capital as important to their organisation.
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Contact: Martin Stervander: +46 70 182 11 92: martin.stervander at biol.lu.se

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The World’s Largest Canary: The Most Successfully Hidden Creature Ever as It Took 101 Years to Spot It Second Time Round

Image: August Thomasson

 

|| June 21: 2017: Lund University News || ά. Biologists at Lund University, together with their colleagues from Portugal and the UK, have now proven that the endangered São Tomé grosbeak is the world’s largest canary, 50 per cent larger than the runner-up. The São Tomé grosbeak is one of the rarest birds in the world and can only be found on the island of São Tomé in the West African Gulf of Guinea. After the bird was discovered in 1888, another 101 years went by before it was spotted again by birdwatchers.

Until now, it has been categorised as Nesospiza, the new finch, but new DNA analyses, performed by the researchers, show that it is a canary or seedeater of the genus Crithagra. The São Tomé grosbeak is distinguished by its size, 20 cm long, flat head and very large beak. The island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe has never been attached to the mainland. Its 1,000 square kilometres contain a total of 28 endemic bird species. This can be compared to the 22 endemic species found on the Galápagos, which is 100 times larger.

Because the small islands have been isolated for so long, several species have evolved rapidly and distinguished themselves from their relatives on the mainland, a phenomenon known as the island effect. The seclusion of an island involves an evolution by which some species develop so-called gigantism, they become giants.

The opposite evolutionary process by which the animals become smaller, is common, to be found in nature.

São Tomé and Príncipe have been inhabited for more than 500 years but have remained fairly intact. In fact, there is still no documented extinction of a species on these islands; although, presently some species are critically endangered.

Publication: The endangered São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor is the world's largest canary.
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Contact: Martin Stervander: +46 70 182 11 92: martin.stervander at biol.lu.se

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Salmon Fishing in the English Channel

Image: Bournemouth University

 

|| June 20: 2017: Bournemouth University News || ά. An international project to research the salmon and sea trout populations in the English Channel, which is supported by the University staff and students, is set to receive a multimillion pound investment. The environmental project Salmonid Management Round the Channel:SAMARCH is being led by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust:GWCT with 10 partner organisations, five in France and five in the UK. The project, which provides vital research on rapidly declining salmon and sea trout or Salmonid populations, is set to receive a €05.4 million contribution from the EU’s Interreg France Channel England programme.

SAMARCH will focus on the behaviour and mortality of salmonid populations in estuaries and coastal waters to determine where they are dying. It will also use DNA analysis to map areas in the channel that are important for sea trout and to determine the sex ratio of salmonids to improve the tools used by the regulatory bodies in England and France to manage their salmon stocks. Professor Genoveva Esteban, Professor at Bournemouth University, said, "SAMARCH is a marvellous opportunity for students to carry out work placements and research projects here in the UK and in France.

This partnership will, also, facilitate cross-border student exchanges and knowledge, not just for the benefit of all partners, but of society in general." This project will use advanced fish monitoring facilities on five rivers across the south of England and northern France, including the Freshwater Biological Association’s River Laboratory on the River Frome in Dorset.

The knowledge gathered during the five-year project, which runs to 2022, will be used to update regulations in both France and England on the management of salmonids in estuaries and coastal waters. If implemented, this could lead to a 06% to 09% increase in adult salmonid populations in the channel area. Atlantic salmon and sea trout populations have declined by around 70% since the 1970s; they play a major role in coastal and river ecosystems and have a considerable economic importance through angling in Europe estimated to be worth as much as €01.2 billion.

Mr Dylan Roberts, Head of Fisheries at GWCT and Project Manager, said, “Until recently, management has focused largely on addressing issues in fresh water; however we know that more than 90% of salmon smolts that leave our rivers for their feeding grounds in the north Atlantic die at sea.

Researching salmon in the sea has always been technically difficult, but recent developments in fish tracking technology, DNA methodologies and advances in data analysis techniques now enables us to quantify what proportion of this mortality that occurs in the estuary and coastal areas, their movements through these areas.

"SAMARCH will, also, sharpen the tools used to manage salmonid stocks and adjust our management strategies accordingly. We are delighted that the Interrreg programme has decided to support SAMARCH and we look forward to working with our partners over the next five years.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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We See the Paris Agreement and the Low Greenhouse Gas Emission and Climate Resilient Transition for What It Is: The Driver of an Irreversible Process of Sustainable Growth for Our economies and the Key to Protecting Our Planet: The European Union

A fallen tree in Namibia's Namib desert. Image: World Bank:Philip Schuler



|| June 19: 2017 || ά. The European Council conclusions on climate change following the United States Administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement: 01: The Council deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the United States Administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The Council also welcomes the numerous strong statements of commitment to the Paris Agreement from countries ranging from major economies to small island states.

02: The Paris Agreement brought us together in very challenging times. It is an unprecedented multilateral agreement between nearly 200 parties, supported by regions, cities, communities, companies as well as other non-state actors across the world, to address a problem that threatens us all. It demonstrates, along with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our collective responsibility towards the entire planet, for this and future generations, and our commitment to act accordingly.

03: The Council reaffirms that the Paris Agreement is fit for purpose and cannot be renegotiated. The Agreement is ambitious yet not prescriptive and allows each Party to forge its own path, in contributing to the goals that serve to combat climate change, which threatens development, peace and stability around the world.

04: The Council reiterates the European Union's steadfast support for the United Nations as the core of a rules-based multilateral system. The European Union and its Member States remain united and absolutely committed to full and swift implementation of the Paris Agreement, recall the particular responsibility of major economies, accounting for some 80% of global emissions, and call on all partners to keep up the momentum created in 2015 towards successful results at COP 23 and COP 24.

05: The world can continue to count on the EU for leadership in the global fight against climate change, holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 01.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The EU will lead through its ambitious climate policies and through continued support to those who are particularly vulnerable, to build strong and sustainable economies on the path towards achieving greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century, and societies resilient to climate change. The EU and its Member States are the largest contributors of climate financing and remain committed to mobilise their share of the developed countries' goal to jointly mobilise USD100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries, from a variety of sources.

06: The EU is strengthening its existing global partnerships to this end and will continue to seek new alliances, from the world's largest economies to the most vulnerable island states. Our partnerships will include the many businesses, regions, cities, citizens and communities that have voiced their support for the Paris Agreement both worldwide and in the US and are taking ambitious climate action.

07: Together, we will implement the Paris Agreement because it is our common interest and responsibility. We see the Paris Agreement and the low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient transition for what it is, the driver of an irreversible process of sustainable growth for our economies and the key to protecting our planet. The EU stands ready to cooperate with all parties to this end.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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NASA Discovers a New Mode of Ice Loss in Greenland

Rink Glacier in western Greenland, with a meltwater lake visible centre. Image: NASA:OIB

 

|| June 13: 2017: Carol Rasmussen Writing || ά. A new NASA study finds that during Greenland's hottest summers on record, 2010 and 2012, the ice in Rink Glacier on the island's west coast didn't just melt faster than usual, it slid through the glacier's interior in a gigantic wave, like a warmed freezer pop sliding out of its plastic casing. The wave persisted for four months, with ice from upstream continuing to move down to replace the missing mass for at least four more months. This long pulse of mass loss, called a solitary wave, is a new discovery that may increase the potential for sustained ice loss in Greenland as the climate continues to warm, with implications for the future rate of sea level rise.

The study by three scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was the first to precisely track a glacier's loss of mass from melting ice using the horizontal motion of a GPS sensor. They used data from a single sensor in the Greenland GPS Network:GNET, sited on bedrock next to Rink Glacier. A paper on the research is published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Rink is one of Greenland's major outlets to the ocean, draining about 11 billion tons, gigatons of ice per year in the early 2000s, roughly the weight of 30,000 Empire State Buildings. In the intensely hot summer of 2012, however, it lost an additional 06.7 gigatons of mass in the form of a solitary wave. Previously observed melting processes can't explain that much mass loss.

The wave moved through the flowing glacier during the months of June through September at a speed of about 02.5 miles, four kilometres a month for the first three months, increasing to 07.5 miles or 12 kilometres during September. The amount of mass in motion was 01.7 gigatons, plus or minus about half a gigaton, per month. Rink Glacier typically flows at a speed of a mile or two, a few kilometres a year.

The wave could not have been detected by the usual methods of monitoring Greenland's ice loss, such as measuring the thinning of glaciers with airborne radar. "You could literally be standing there and you would not see any indication of the wave." said JPL scientist Mr Eric Larour, a Co-author of the new paper. "You would not see cracks or other unique surface features."

The researchers saw the same wave pattern in the GPS data for 2010, the second hottest summer on record in Greenland. Although they did not quantify the exact size and speed of the 2010 wave, the patterns of motion in the GPS data indicate that it must have been smaller than the 2012 wave but similar in speed. "We know for sure that the triggering mechanism was the surface melting of snow and ice, but we do not fully understand the complex array of processes, that generate solitary waves." said JPL Scientist Mr Surendra Adhikari, who led the study.

During the two summers when solitary waves occurred, the surface snowpack and ice of the huge basin in Greenland's interior behind Rink Glacier held more water than ever before. In 2012, more than 95 percent of the surface snow and ice was melting. Meltwater may create temporary lakes and rivers that quickly drain through the ice and flow to the ocean. "The water upstream, probably, had to carve new channels to drain." explained Co-author Mr Erik Ivins of JPL. "It was likely to be slow-moving and inefficient." Once the water had formed pathways to the base of the glacier, the wave of intense loss began.

The scientists theorise that previously known processes combined to make the mass move so quickly. The huge volume of water lubricated the base of the glacier, allowing it to move more rapidly, and softened the side margins where the flowing glacier meets rock or stationary ice. These changes allowed the ice to slide downstream so fast that ice farther inland couldn't keep up.

The glacier gained mass from October through January as ice continued to move downstream to replace the lost mass. "This systematic transport of ice in fall to midwinter had not been previously recognised." Mr Adhikari emphasised. "Intense melting such as we saw in 2010 and 2012 is without precedent, but it represents the kind of behavior that we might expect in the future in a warming climate." Mr Ivins added. "We're seeing an evolving system."

Greenland's coast is dotted with more than 50 GNET stations mounted on bedrock to track changes below Earth's surface. The network was installed as a collaborative effort by the U.S. National Science Foundation and international partners in Denmark and Luxembourg. Researchers use the vertical motions of these stations to observe how the North American tectonic plate is rebounding from its heavy ice burden of the last ice age.

Mr Adhikari, Mr Ivins and Mr Larour were the first to quantitatively explore the idea that, under the right circumstances, the horizontal motions could reveal how the ice mass was changing as well. "What makes our work exciting is that we are essentially identifying a new, robust observational technique to monitor ice flow processes on seasonal or shorter time scales."  Mr Adhikari said. Existing satellite observations do not offer enough temporal or spatial resolution to do this.

The GNET stations are not currently being maintained by any agency. The JPL scientists first spotted the unusual behaviour of Rink Glacier while examining whether there were any scientific reasons to keep the network going. "Boy, did we find one." Mr Ivins said.

: Carol Rasmussen: NASA's Earth Science News Team:

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Climate Scientists' Reference Upper Air Network Conference in Helsinki: June 12-16

A view of icebergs in Ilulissat Icefjord Greenland, where the melting of ice sheets is accelerating. Image: UN Photo:Mark Garten

 

|| June 12: 2017 || ά. In order to understand the changing climate system it is necessary to observe, over many decades, the system in a manner, that creates reliable long-term records. During the recent years it has been increasingly realised that understanding our changing climate and the underlying causes of these changes, requires an understanding not just of changes at the surface of the Earth but throughout the atmospheric column. Furthermore, high-quality measurements are needed to separate the climate change signal from natural variability.

This requires careful attention being paid to creating long-term series that are traceable to  international measurement standards, well understood and well managed. If such series can be achieved at a representative set of sites around the globe then we can use these records to understand remaining observations including those from satellites, and be confident in how the climate system evolves during the 21st Century and beyond. Under the auspices of the Global Climate Observing System, an international group of climate scientists started a new activity a decade ago to instigate and maintain just such a network of measurements, the GCOS Reference Upper Air Network:GRUAN.

The goal of GRUAN has been to instigate long-term high-quality measurements of key atmospheric parameters such as water vapour and temperature in the upper atmosphere, with the aim of expanding to further variables. Some of the essential climate variables are technically very difficult to measure accurately, for example due to very low concentrations of water vapour in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. It is, therefore, important to involve measurements from high quality stations.

Yet, it is the water vapour in this region that is key to understanding questions around climate system feedbacks and hence climate system sensitivity to ongoing human emissions of heat-trapping gases.

The GRUAN network currently consists of around 25 stations. However, the network is expanding. The co-ordination of network activities involves annual conferences. Such a conference is organised for the first time at the FMI, Helsinki in June 12-16. The meeting will have a special focus upon Arctic region activities.

FMI is a founding member in GRUAN. The GRUAN Meeting in Helsinki shall, also, discuss numerous other aspects of GRUAN operations, including change
management, new data streams from remote sensing techniques and new innovations such as Air Core measurements.

More information: Senior researcher Rigel Kivi, tel. +358 29 539 2728, rigel.kivi at fmi.fi: Research Professor Jouni Pulliainen, tel. +358 29 539 4701, jouni.pulliainen at fmi.fi: Professor Peter Thorne, Co-Chair, GCOS Working Group on the GCOS Reference Upper Air Network. ω.

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How to Manage the Global Redistribution of Species in Response to Climate Change

Indigenous Skolt Sámi knowledge holder Vladimir Feodoroff cleans a grayling on river Näätämö, in Finland. Image: Chris McNeave
 

|| June 10: 2017: University of Hong Kong News || ά.  Climate change will have diverse impacts on natural life across the globe. This fact compelled world leaders to agree to aim for reductions in CO2 emissions to limit future warming in the Paris Agreement of 2015, an agreement recently in the news again following US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the climate accords. One of the clearest impacts of climate change on nature has been the movement of plants and animals or ‘species redistribution’. When species shift their distributions in response to climate change people feel the heat, too. For example, if fish species move significantly there could be major disruptions to global food security.

Similarly, if important disease vectors, e.g. mosquitoes, change their distributions there could be major public health challenges arising from species redistribution. How best can science support the management of these major climate change impacts on biodiversity and societies? Leading a large international team of climate change researchers across several countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, Dr Timothy Bonebrake, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong and colleagues, devised a strategy for managing the consequences of species redistribution. The research team argues, in a recently published paper in Biological Reviews, that with targeted interdisciplinary engagement and by working with managers, local communities and the public, there are significant opportunities to address research challenges in species redistribution and mitigate its effects.

As an example, the research team highlighted the uncertain future of caterpillar fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis and the consequences of its redistribution under climate change. Caterpillar fungus is an important commodity in the economy of rural Tibet and is popular in Hong Kong and mainland China for its use in traditional Chinese medicine.

However, scientists have forecasted that under climate change the species may decline. This would most significantly impact the local communities that depend on the fungus for income. Importantly, harvesters of the caterpillar fungus have already experienced local changes in climate in the Tibetan Plateau. These experiences in climate change are crucial and have in fact informed scientific understanding of warming impacts in the region. In this way it is clear that the science and local communities can support one another – it is not only science that supports communities but communities who support science.

Applied, real-time and interdisciplinary research will be vital for effective management of species redistribution effects on biodiversity and societies. “Traditional research paradigms are ill-suited to respond adequately to the global and far-reaching effects of species redistribution.” explained Dr Bonebrake. “Ecologists, for example, need to go beyond studying how global warming will change a given species as they did before.

Instead, there’s a need to determine whether there are immediate conservation actions that can be taken to ensure that that species persists in the future. We also need to assess whether a given species redistribution will affect associated ‘ecosystem services’, or how that species might be relevant to people, whether it’s through disease, health or recreation.” The research team provided a number of positive developments which could enhance management efforts.

For example, dynamic ocean management systems have been developed in some countries to accommodate seasonal changes in fish distributions and provide for regular updates of management zones. Similar approaches are being developed to adapt to long-term and climate-driven species redistributions. Citizen science has also become very popular in recent years. The involvement of local communities in data collection of species changes allows for a formalised relationship between scientists and the public.

Though, the challenges are significant and the consequences of climate change and species redistribution potentially dire, there is cause for optimism. Specifically, the research team demonstrated how ecological, conservation and social research on species redistribution can best be achieved by working across disciplinary boundaries to develop and implement solutions to climate change challenges.

“This study came out of a meeting with hundreds of researchers in Tasmania, Species on the Move, and was inspired by the abundance of passion and enthusiasm to address this issue.” said Dr Bonebrake. “We realised that by working together across disciplinary lines and by interfacing directly with the communities most affected by climate change, we have the best chance of successfully adapting to the impacts.

As an American citizen I was disappointed that President Trump chose to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. But many cities across the US have decided that they will commit to the agreement all the same. And I think this is the right approach; addressing climate change impacts will require local engagement and I believe scientists have an important role to play in this effort.” ω.

The Paper: Biological Reviews: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/brv.12344/full

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High Release of Strong Greenhouse Gas Nitrous Oxide Found From Northern Peatlands at Permafrost Thaw


|| June 05: 2017: University of Eastern Finland News  || ά. A recent study led by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland shows that permafrost thaw, may, greatly increase emissions of nitrous oxide:N2O from northern permafrost peatlands. Nitrous oxide is a strong greenhouse gas: 300 times more powerful per unit mass in warming the climate than CO2. It is known that thawing of permafrost may enhance climate warming by releasing the vast carbon stocks locked in Arctic soils as the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide:CO2 and methane:CH4. The role of N2O for permafrost–climate feedbacks, however, is not yet well understood.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The authors used 16 mesocosms, 80 cm long, intact peat columns with natural vegetation, collected in a subarctic peatland in Finnish Lapland, to directly measure N2O emissions from thawing permafrost during a 33-week experiment. For this experiment, the mesocosms were set up in a climate-controlled chamber, mimicking natural temperature, moisture and light conditions. Sequential top-down thawing of the mesocosms, first of the seasonally thawing active layer and then the permafrost part, allowed the authors to directly assess N2O dynamics under near-field conditions.

The highest post-thaw emissions occurred from bare peat surfaces, which are commonly found in permafrost peatlands. For these surfaces, permafrost thaw resulted in a five-fold increase in emissions. The emission rates measured from these surfaces matched rates from tropical forest soils, the world’s largest natural terrestrial N2O source.

The presence of vegetation cover in the mesocosms lowered thaw-induced N2O emissions by approximately 90%. Water-logged conditions completely suppressed the N2O emissions. A vulnerability assessment indicated that areas with high probability for N2O emissions cover approximately one fourth of the Arctic. According to the authors, the Arctic N2O budget will depend strongly on future moisture and vegetation changes.

However, the authors state that the Arctic will likely become a substantial source of N2O when permafrost thaws. The study was carried out by researchers of the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland, in cooperation with colleagues from Lund University, Sweden.

The research was funded by the Nordic Center of Excellence DEFROST, and supported by the European Union project PAGE21, the Academy of Finland, project CryoN and JPI Climate project COUP. ω.

For further information please contact: M.Sc. Carolina Voigt (lead author), tel.: +358 505628735, carolina.voigt at uef.fi
Dr. Christina Biasi, research director, tel: +358 403553810, christina.biasi at uef.fi
Dr. Maija Marushchak, ostdoctoral researcher, tel: +358 503065244, maija.marushchak at uef.fi

The Paper: Carolina Voigt, Maija E. Marushchak, Richard E. Lamprecht, Marcin Jackowicz-Korczyński, Amelie Lindgren, Mikhail Mastepanov, Lars Granlund, Torben R. Christensen, Teemu Tahvanainen, Pertti J. Martikainen, Christina Biasi 2017: Increased nitrous oxide emissions from Arctic peatlands after permafrost thaw. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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The Big Fish in Big Trouble

The Angelshark, Squatina squatina, typifies the fish most at risk of extinction: it grows to a large size and is cartilaginous, so it has characteristics,
which make it less resilient. Once common throughout Europe, it is now only found in the Canary Islands. Image: Tony Gilbert.
 

|| May 27: 2017: University of Aberdeen News  || ά. An international team of scientists led by the University of Aberdeen have discovered that large fish, which include many of the sharks, rays and skates of Europe, are the most at threat from extinction. Marine fish are a diverse group of animals that play important roles in marine ecosystems, but are also a major food source for marine and terrestrial mammals, most notably humans. A new study, published on Friday, May 26 in Nature Ecology and Evolution, has shown that the bigger the fish, the more likely it is to be threatened with extinction.

This is because they are more susceptible to threats such as overfishing due to growing slower, taking longer to mature and having fewer offspring, as well as being more sought after for food consumption or sport. The team, which was made up of 44 researchers from all around the world, received funding from the European Commission, DG Environment and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland:MASTS to carry out the study. The study was part of a major effort to assess the extinction risk of fish carried out by International Union for Conservation of Nature:IUCN to produce the European Red List of Marine Fishes and saw the team assess over 1000 different species and the status of commercial fish ‘stocks’.

Further to this, the team aimed to find out if their data agreed with advice received from other government fisheries agencies. Fishery agencies assess whether fish stocks are overfished or not, and provide advice on how much fish can then be taken from a stock to ensure that the stock is sustainable. This is when fishing quotas or catch limits are implemented.

The scientists studied the status of commercial fish stocks all around Europe and found a remarkable geographic contrast. Dr Paul Fernandes from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Biological Sciences, explains, “In the northeast Atlantic in 2014, almost twice as many stocks were sustainably fished as overfished, eight stocks were recovering, the fishing rate is not high, but their populations are small and 19 were declining, their populations are healthy, but the fishing rate is now too high.

“However, in the Mediterranean Sea, almost all stocks examined in our study were overfished, 36 of 39 and not one was sustainable. This comes down to how the areas are managed and the unique nature of the fishing communities in the two areas. In the northeast Atlantic, there is a complex and expensive, fishery monitoring and enforcement system, which sets quotas and other regulations to keep fish stocks healthy.

In the Mediterranean, however, such monitoring and enforcement would be even more expensive, because there are many more fishermen scattered in many small fishing ports. Hence, there are largely no quotas in the Mediterranean, only some protected areas and some limits on the amount of fishing time; the area also has more pressing economic and food security concerns.

Through this study, we have highlighted two major issues for Europe’s fish: the threats to large fish, and the overfishing problem in the Mediterranean. Europe is proceeding with a Blue Growth agenda, aiming to expand its use of marine space in aquaculture, mining, renewable energy, tourism and biotechnology, but as it does so it needs to take care of the large fish, the so-called ‘megafauna’ and improve fishery management in the Mediterranean.” ω.

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Climate-Vulnerable Islands are in the Spotlight Ahead of the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction Forum in Mexico

Rabi Island, Fiji. Rising sea levels and more extreme weather events pose an imminent threat to low-lying atoll islands across the Pacific. Image: OCHA:Danielle Parry

 

|| May 22: 2017 || ά. Hurricanes, cyclones and tsunamis are increasingly common threats to the world’s most climate-vulnerable island nations, whose representatives are meeting today in Cancun, Mexico, ahead of a major United Nations conference on risk reduction. Addressing dozens of delegates from small island developing States, Mr Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, said that the island nations read like a roll call for prevention, resilience and recovery from recent disasters and near misses.

He noted that disasters on small islands affected the whole population, undermining efforts to eradicate poverty and build resilient cities and communities. “If a high percentage of the population is affected, injured or killed, this can have long lasting consequences for recovery and overall development and economic activity.” Mr. Glasser said yesterday, as the island nations gathered for the first of three days of discussions. The talks are being held ahead of the formal sessions of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, whose preparatory meetings start today and formal sessions will start on Wednesday.

Held every two years since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to discuss disaster reduction, the 2017 Global Platform, the fifth such event to date, is expected to bring together more than 5,000 Heads of State, policy makers, disaster risk managers, civil society and other participants.

This will be the first international summit on disaster since the Sendai Framework, which was adopted in 2015 in the northern Japanese city after which it was named, and consists of seven targets and four priorities for action that aim for the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.

Last year, 445 million people were affected by disasters linked to natural hazards worldwide including floods, storms, earthquakes and drought, 8,000 people lost their lives and direct economic losses from major disaster events were estimated at $138.8 billion. The World Bank estimates that the real cost to the global economy from disasters is $520 billion per year and that they push 24 million people into poverty annually.

In his opening comments, Mr. Glasser applauded the island nations for rising to the challenges and taking a leadership role in integrating action on disaster risk and climate risk in an era when extreme weather events have risen dramatically and trigger 90 per cent of all natural hazard related disasters. ω.

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What Does Tania Do: If the Earth is Not Well the Heart Cannot Be Well

 

|| May 19: 2017: University of Helsinki News || ά. It is estimated that there are 02.5 million potentially contaminated sites across Europe. Of them, at least 350 000 require remediation. Managing contaminated land costs around €06.5 billion per year and almost half of these funds come from public budgets. Traditional remove and treat remediation methods are effective at removing most forms of contamination, but are often far too costly, both in terms of financial and ecological impact.

New nanotech materials, particles, fibres and other novel, clean technologies which can be used for in-situ remediation of contamination are currently being developed around the world. Recent work at the University of Helsinki involving the use of hydrogen peroxide sparging techniques and nano-cellulose fibres have shown promising results for in-situ remediation of contaminated soils and ground water.

"These new methods and materials have the potential to make remediation efforts quicker, cheaper and more environmentally friendly. They may also be able to remove contaminants more effectively than traditional methods." describes Professor Martin Romantschuk from the University of Helsinki.

A new five-year project, called, TreAting contamination through NanoremedIAtion:TANIA promotes the use of novel remediation technologies that have been or are being developed at the University of Helsinki and by researchers at the University of Lorraine and other collaborating institutions in Greece, Hungary and Italy.

“There are already three projects tackling various aspects of restoration of contaminated soil and water going on. These projects will contribute facts and methods to be disseminated to stakeholders in the TANIA project." Professor Romantschuk says.

The project partners from Finland are the University of Helsinki and the Päijät-Häme Regional Council. The funding of 01.2 million Euros is provided by EU Interreg. Currently the regional partners are in the process of identifying and reaching out to individuals and institutions in the public and private sectors to serve on the project’s stakeholder committees. ω.

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Amid Dramatic Climate Changes the UN Launches Plan to Step-up Polar Weather and Sea-Ice Monitoring

Image: Bengt Wickström

|| May 15: 2017 || ά. With relatively little data available about the Earth’s Polar Regions, posing risks for people and the environment, the United Nations weather agency has kicked off of a two-year international effort to close gaps in polar forecasting capacity and to improve future environmental safety at the farthest reaches of the planet.

Polar conditions are changing dramatically, impacting weather across the globe, the World Meteorological Organisation:WMO said, launching the Year of Polar Prediction, which will aim to improve predictions of weather, climate and ice conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic. “Because of teleconnections, the poles influence weather and climate conditions in lower latitudes where hundreds of millions of people live.” warned WMO Secretary-General Mr Petteri Taalas.

“Warming Arctic air masses and declining sea ice are believed to affect ocean circulation and the jet stream, and are potentially linked to extreme phenomena such as cold spell, heat waves and droughts in the northern hemisphere.” he added.

Scientists, with the help of data from operational forecasting centres, will observe, model, and improve forecasts of weather and climate systems to learn more about and improve the understanding of the weather changes at the poles.

In light of The Year of Polar Prediction, special observing periods will be added to improve the number of routine observations, for example by weather balloon launches, and buoy deployments from research vessels to measure atmospheric and oceanographic conditions.

The effects of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, one of the leading causes of global warming, are felt more intensely in the Polar Region as anywhere else.

According to WMO, both the Artic and Antarctica are warming twice as fast as the rest of the world causing melting of glaciers and ice shelves, shrinking sear ice and snow cover. Polar wildlife ecosystems and indigenous population are already feeling the impact of climate change.

“Arctic sea-ice maximum extent after the winter re-freezing period in March was the lowest on record because of a series of ‘heat-waves.’ Antarctic sea ice minimum extent after the most recent Southern Hemisphere summer melt was also the lowest on record.” explained Mr Thomas Jung of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research and Chair of the Polar Prediction Project steering committee.

“The rate and implications of polar environmental change is pushing our scientific knowledge to the limits.” he warned.

WMO further predicts that the noticeable changes in weather, climate and ice conditions at the poles are leading to increased human activities such as transportation, tourism, fisheries are and natural resource exploitation and extraction.

“The expected increase in activity comes with its own share of risks to both the environment and society, including traditional indigenous livelihoods.” said Mr. Taalas. “Ice-laden polar seas are a challenge to navigate, whilst any oil spills could be catastrophic.”

“Accurate weather and sea-ice information will thus become increasingly vital in order to improve safety management in Polar Regions and beyond.” he said.

Polar and high mountain activities are among WMO’s top strategic priorities because of the growing impact of climate change from greenhouse gas emissions.

The Arctic and Antarctic are currently among the world’s most poorly observed regions. Lack of data along with limitations of models, impact the quality of forecasts while insufficient information about polar weather will also the affect quality of weather forecasts in other parts of the world.

WMO therefore expects that advances in Polar prediction will lead to improved weather forecasts and climate predictions both for Polar Regions as well as densely populated countries in other parts of the world.
ω.

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Finland is Minding the Arctic Latitude with Climate Change Impacting on the Ecology

Proba-one images Svalbard ground station: Image: ESA


|| May 14: 2017 || ά.  ω. Climate change is clearly taking place faster in the Arctic region than anywhere else. With climate change, travel, shipping and the utilisation of natural resources will increase in the Arctic region, which will increase the demand for both observational data on the Arctic environment and services.

Finland is one of the world's most northern societies with permanent settlements, so challenging natural conditions are familiar to Finns. In order to enable the society to run its operations efficiently despite the snow and freezing temperatures, there is a need for weather observations, research and services to allow different actors to prepare for weather fluctuations.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute focuses on improving the smooth and safe functioning of society using new information and communication technologies. This expertise will be needed in the future at ever higher latitudes.

The chairmanship of the Arctic Council will be transferred from the US to Finland in May. The main themes for Finland's chairmanship are environmental protection, meteorological cooperation, communication solutions and education.

Safe and sustainable operations in the Arctic region require close meteorological cooperation. The Finnish Meteorological Institute already monitors and produces different kinds of observation data from both Finland and elsewhere in the Arctic region. ‘In order to be prepared for the changing conditions in the Arctic, we need better understanding and long-term monitoring of the weather, climate, ice, and sea conditions.

A prerequisite for this is that the weather, ice, sea and climate observations are developed in international cooperation. This enables the research of the changing conditions in the Arctic and service development for the needs of Arctic activities. The chairmanship of the Arctic Council offers us an excellent opportunity to build networks and foundations based on permanent international cooperation,' explains Juhani Damski, Director General of the FMI.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute's Arctic Space Centre, located in Sodankylä, produces important data for the Arctic region by utilising the newest satellite and space technology. The centre also produces services that are of importance to the Arctic region's security. In the Arctic Space Centre, the full range of operations is carried out, from receiving and processing satellite data through to data distribution and utilisation.

Data transmitted by satellites can be utilised, for example, in meteorological weather services, ice services and climate research. In Sodankylä, unique satellite-based information is produced for the whole northern hemisphere covering phenomena such as snow cover, soil freezing and the Aurora Borealis. The long-term time series obtained from satellite observations can also be used in areas such as climate change research.

Sodankylä's infrastructure has been developed so that large satellite data masses are accessible via an interface that can be read mechanically or as a cloud service. The cloud service and virtual calculation platforms constructed in Sodankylä facilitate the development and production of new
added value services and products. In principle, a lot of the data is entirely free.

Further information: Juhani Damski, tel. +358:0:29 539 2200, Juhani.damski at fmi.fi
Johanna Ekman, tel. +358:0:29 539 2079, johanna.ekmanat fmi.fi: ω.

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UN Food and Agricultural Agency Links Food Security and Climate Change in Its New Guidelines

|| May 12: 2017 || ά. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation:FAO today published new guidelines to help world governments balance the needs of farming and climate change when making decisions, such as whether to refill a dried up lake or focus instead on sustainably using the forest on its shore. “Medium to long-term adaptation planning is crucial to build climate resilience and food security for future generations.” said Ms Julia Wolf, FAO Natural Resources Officer and Co-author of the guidelines.

“The agriculture sectors, often the economic backbone of developing countries, need to be a key driver and stakeholder. The guidelines are set out to address the key issues, entry points and steps to take.” Ms. Wolf said. Agriculture, including fisheries and forestry, are important in efforts to keep global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels.

The industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, to meet the food demand of a larger population, food production would need to be 60 per cent higher in 2050 than it was in 2006, said FAO.

The UN agency's new guidelines are geared to address the specific challenges, that adaptation and mitigation efforts pose in the agricultural arena, steering change at a bearable pace for those, who depend on related activities for incomes, livelihoods and food security.

They are aimed at national planners, agriculture, forestry and fisheries authorities and experts as well as United Nations and bilateral donors. The guidelines are expected to help countries achieve the climate pledges made in December 2015 when the Paris Climate Accord was agreed to in France. ω.

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Weather Climate and Water Challenges are on the Agenda for the Sixty Ninth Session of the World Meteorological Organisation Executive Council 2017 in Geneva: Until May 17

A view of icebergs in Ilulissat Icefjord Greenland, where the melting of ice sheets is accelerating. Image: UN Photo:Mark Garten

 

|| May 10: 2017 || ά. Strengthening weather and climate services to protect lives, property and the economy from increasingly extreme and unusual weather is among the pressing issues being discussed at the annual session of the World Meteorological Organisation:WMO's co-ordinating body, which started today in Geneva. The Sixty Ninth Session of the WMO Executive Council, which runs in the Swiss city until May 17, will provide an opportunity to help shape the agency's contribution to the global agenda on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change.

Highlighting efforts to strengthen partnerships within the UN system, WMO Secretary-General Mr Petteri Taalas said that the agency sought to meet the needs of development and humanitarian agencies for more information on El Niño and La Niña events and seasonal predictions, as well as warnings of extreme weather through a potential global alarm system. Such an alarm system, if implemented at a global level, could serve as an aggregator and repository of authoritative weather warnings and related alerts worldwide. Mr. Taalas went on to say that WMO would seek to increase the profile of its expertise on water and ocean affairs and bolster research, while continuing to provide scientific advice on the state of the climate.

“We have seen a number of records broken in terms of temperatures and low Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. Sea level rise is accelerating.” he said, also, warning on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and stressing that the benchmark Global Atmosphere Watch observing station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, recently reached more than 410 parts per million.

CO2 levels had previously reached the 400 parts per million barrier for certain months of 2016 and in certain locations but never before on a global average basis for the entire year, trapping heat and causing the earth to warm further. Carbon dioxide is the single most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities.

''Extreme weather events are on the increase.'' Mr. Taalas said. Indeed, on the eve of the Executive Council session, Tropical Cyclone Donna reached the equivalent of Category Five status in the South Pacific, the strongest late-forming cyclone on record in the region. “Besides temperatures, we, also, need to focus on rainfall issues.” he continued, noting the severe drought in parts of Africa and Mongolia, as well as flooding in Colombia and Peru and, most recently, in Canada.

One of the highlights of the meeting will be the launch of the Year of Polar Prediction, a co-ordinated international drive to improve predictions of weather, climate and ice conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The remoteness and prevalence of harsh weather and climate conditions contribute to making the Polar Regions the poorest observed in the world while, according to the WMO, there is a high level of public interest, especially among youth, about how rapid climate changes at high latitudes affect the weather and climate in the rest of the world. The expansion of human activities into the Polar Regions is, also, increasing the demand for more information and better predictions.

The Year of Polar Prediction is part of the 10 year international Polar Prediction Project and aims to minimize the environmental risks associated with rapid climate change in Polar Regions and to close the current gaps in polar forecasting capacity.
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Only Two Questions: How Many is the First: Second: How Do You Find Out

Image: University of Bangor: Wales: United Kingdom

 

|| May 07: 2017: University of St Andrews News || ά. The King heard of the Boy; the legendary the smartest boy in his Kingdom, about whose intelligence he could hardly remain oblivious since he wanted to really check it out whether the Boy was really as intelligent as they say he is. Therefore, soon the royal invite landed on the poor boy's parental hut in the manner of  royal horsemen coming to a sudden holt. The King needed the Boy's help for he wanted to know the number of crows in his Kingdom and none of the so called smart people in His Court or indeed in the Kingdom could help him in this. The Boy's parents were worried but could hardly say no to the Royal call. So the Boy was taken to the Capital to meet the King.

''So, tell me little Boy, how many crows do we have in our Kingdom?'' Posed the King. ''If I give you the correct answer, do you promise me that, in return, you will make sure no bird is kept in a cage in our Kingdom, Your Majesty?'' ''Sure, Boy, you have my word. But, surely, you want something for yourself. May be, something for your parents. Go on, ask for anything.'' ''There is nothing more a human soul can ask for, Your Majesty, other than liberty for those, who do not have it. I have mine so I know what it is to not have liberty, Your Majesty.'' ''I see. I see.'' said the King. ''Now, as for the correct answer, Your Mjesty, there are 999 crows in our Kingdom.''

''999! How did you figure that out without even leaving the Palace? Are you sure?'' ''Well, Your Majesty, I am sure. If you find any more than 999 crows you have to treat the extra ones as visiting their keen from abroad and if you find any missing from 999 than you will have to assume that they have gone a-visiting their keen outside the Kingdom.'' Now, how was the King going to find out the correct number of crows but he could not find any other way but to declare that the Boy was the most intelligent in his Kingdom and asked him again, urging him, to ask him for anything for himself. The Boy said that the Royal Highness had shown him absolute kindness and affection that were enough for him to go home with, where he had the most beautiful thing in the world, his family and that he needed nothing more in the world.

And now, dear Reader, you have got to time travel forward from once upon a time to now and read the news that researchers have been able to work out, like the Smartest Boy in our story, the total number of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the European Atlantic. And how many are there? Well, a large-scale international survey has estimated there are more than 01.5 million. The results of the survey, which were presented at the European Cetacean Society conference in Denmark this week, was co-ordinated by Professor Phil Hammond and Ms Claire Lacey, from the Sea Mammal Research Unit:SMRU at the University of St Andrews.

The most abundant species were harbour porpoise, 467,000, common dolphins, 468,000 and striped dolphins, 372,000, with a further 158,000 either common or striped dolphins. Numbers of other species of dolphins estimated to be present were 28,000 bottlenose dolphins, 36,000 white-beaked dolphins and 16,000 white-sided dolphins.

Deep-diving whales, that feed primarily on squid in offshore waters were estimated to be 26,000 pilot whales, 14,000 sperm whales and 11,000 beaked whales of several different species. Of the filter-feeding baleen whales, 15,000 minke whales and 18,000 fin whales were estimated to be present.

The results indicate that the shift seen in harbour porpoise distribution in the North Sea from the northwest in 1994 to the south in 2005 was maintained in 2016, with highest densities found in the southwestern North Sea and north and east of Denmark.

For harbour porpoise, white-beaked dolphin and minke whale in the North Sea, the series of abundance estimates shows no change and a stable trend in abundance over the 22 years covered by the surveys. For the other species in the region, at least one more survey will be needed in the future before the conservation status can be assessed.

Professor Hammond, who presented the results to an international audience, said, “The results from these large-scale international surveys in the last two decades have greatly expanded our knowledge of the distribution and abundance of cetacean species in European Atlantic waters, enabling fisheries bycatch and other anthropogenic stressors to be placed in a population context and giving a strong basis for assessments of conservation status.”

The survey was a collaboration among scientists in nine countries bordering the Atlantic and was supported by the governments of those countries. ‌Three ships and seven aircraft surveyed an area of 01.8 million square kilometres from the strait of Gibraltar in the south to Vestfjorden, Norway, in the north over six weeks in summer 2016. Teams of observers searched along 60,000km of transect line, recording thousands of groups of cetaceans from 19 different species.

The data were collected using sampling methods designed to allow correction for animals missed on the transect line, without which estimates of abundance would be negatively biased. This was achieved using two semi-independent teams of observers on the ships and using the ‘circle-back’ aerial survey method, in which the aircraft flies a loop to re-survey the same piece of transect.

The new estimates of abundance will be integral to cetacean assessments undertaken for the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic:OSPAR quality status report and for the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments of Good Environmental Status.

The results, also, enable the impact of bycatch and other anthropogenic pressures on cetacean populations to be determined, fulfilling a suite of needs under the EU Habitats Directive and the UNEP Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans in the Baltic, North east Atlantic, Irish and North Seas:ASCOBANS.

Dr Santos, from the Instituto Español de Oceanografía, who co-ordinated the Spanish ship surveys, said, “SCANS-III is a good example of how international collaboration at EU level is needed for the assessment of status and trends to inform conservation management of these wide-ranging species.”

Dr Gilles, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover and Dr Scheidat, Wageningen Marine Research, who jointly co-ordinated the aerial surveys, added, “The survey has been a major achievement. It would not have been possible without the large international team of observers, pilots, captains and vessel crews, who worked long and hard to make the project a success.”

Collaborating partners and institutes were: Professor Philip Hammond, Claire Lacey, Project Co-ordinators, Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews, UK; Dr Jonas Teilmann, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark; Dr Helena Herr, Dr Anita Gilles, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Germany; Professor Vincent Ridoux, University of La Rochelle, France; Dr Meike Scheidat, Wageningen Marine Research, Netherlands; Dr Nils Øien, Institute of Marine Research, Norway; Dr José Vingada, Sociedade Portuguesa de Vida Selvagem, Portugal; Dr Begoña Santos, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Spain; Dr Patrik Börjesson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden; Dr Kelly Macleod, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, UK.
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And Here is the Green Party Air Pollution Challenge to the Government

 

|| May 05: 2017 || ά. The Green Party today presented its ‘air pollution challenge’ ahead of the Government releasing its own plans to tackle the high levels of toxins in the air. The Green Party Co-leader, Ms Caroline Lucas, was in Bristol to highlight what she calls a ‘catastrophic failure’ by a Government ‘trying its best to shirk its responsibilities on air pollution’. Ms Lucas said that any air quality plan, which failed her party’s ‘checklist’ wasn’t ‘worthy of the name’. She said, “Any air quality plan, which fails this test isn’t worthy of the name.

We’ve seen catastrophic failure on air pollution from a Government trying it’s best to shirk its responsibilities. It’s astonishing that today’s plan had to be dragged out of the Government, as ministers tried their best to use the election as cover for their continuing refusal to take action. The Green Party’s air pollution plan would tackle this emergency and force car companies to pay their way for the damage they have done to people’s health. Half measures are not good enough when 40,000 premature deaths are linked to air pollution every year; we need bold action now.

Through a clean air act we would enshrine the right to breathe in the law and ensure that Britain becomes a world leader in new technologies, which help us clean up our air. The Government must, also, plough resources into decent public transport, reversing years of underinvestment and skyrocketing fare prices.”

Ms Lucas’ intervention comes after it was reported that the cost of public transport has skyrocketed in recent years, while motoring has become cheaper. According to the Government the cost of motoring has dropped 20% in the last 26 years, while the cost of travel by train and bus is up over 60%.

The Green Party's Air Quality Plan

Over the last two years, the Government has lost two UK court cases about its plans to tackle the key pollutant nitrogen dioxide:NO2. As it stands, a total of 37 out of 43 regions of the UK are in breach of legal limits for NO2 and according to the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution is associated with 40,000 early deaths each year and the annual costs to the health service and society are more than £20bn.

In November 2016, the High Court ordered the Government to publish a draft new clean air plan to tackle NO2 by April 24 with a final plan by July 31. The Government attempted to delay the publication of that plan, again, after calling the General Election, citing Purdah rules. That application was rejected by the High Court last week.

The Government will publish its plan today, but leaks suggest it will not go anywhere near as far as it needs to. Here is what a comprehensive Air Quality Plan should include.

Clean Air Act

It should rapidly introduce a new Clean Air Act to tackle the sources of modern day air pollution, that are harming people’s health, enshrine the right to breathe into UK law and ensure the UK becomes a world leader in the new technologies and industries that will help us clean up our air.

Expand ‘Clean Air Zones’

It should expand and strengthen the network of Clean Air Zones across the country, limiting the most polluting vehicles, including cars, from entering air pollution hot-spots, creating funding for local authorities to invest in walking, cycling and clean public transport. These should be strong enough to ensure legal compliance on NO2 by the end of 2018.

Increase VED

It should increase the first year Vehicle Excise Duty on new diesel vehicles, except vans, by around £800, to reflect the additional cost to society of dirty diesel engines, raising £500m to help fund a targeted diesel scrappage scheme.

Diesel Scrappage

It should introduce a targeted diesel scrappage scheme to take diesel vehicles off the road as soon as possible and ensure that all those, who live within Clean Air Zones can affordably replace polluting diesel vehicles. As well as offering replacement clean vehicles, these schemes should, also, offer alternatives such as car club membership and rail season tickets.

Note: Despite a $10bn vehicle replacement programme in the United States, VW has only embarked upon an opaque programme of ‘technical fixes’ on its 01.2 million vehicles in the UK . The Greens, working through UK regulators, would ensure that VW and others offer free vehicle replacement or retrofitting, as has happened in the United States.

Fine the Cheats

It should set out a plan for how companies, who cheated emissions testing, would be fined. Despite a $14.7bn settlement in the US, Volkswagen, for example, has yet to pay any damages in the EU, an equivalent fine in the UK could raise more than £08 billion from VW alone.

Independent Regulation

It should guarantee the independence of the Vehicle Certification Agency, changing the way it is funded ensuring that the car industry doesn’t have a disproportionate influence on its activities.

Monitor Pollution Hotspots

It should ensure there is a comprehensive network of air monitoring stations in pollution hotspots, ensuring that air quality is monitored around hospitals, health clinics and schools, so that those, who are most vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution, notably children, the elderly and infirm, are protected.

Active Transport

It should undertake a national review of transport system with serious investment in buses, trams and trains along with safe routes for walking and cycling. People need an alternative to car use and we must protect our towns, cities and countryside from the pollution and congestion that comes with new roads.

Clean Energy

It should scale-up investment in renewable energy, which, as it stands, is set to drop by 95% over next two years. Harnessing the clean energy that we have in abundance would be a win-win, both for tackling climate change and air pollution.

Ditch Coal

It should should bring forward the coal phaseout date to 2023 at the least, and gradually end the £6bn a year subsidies in the UK to dirty energy. Pollution from the UK’s coal-fired fleet causes roughly 2,900 premature deaths a year.

How Should This Be Funded

There are no cheap fixes when it comes to cleaning up the air we breathe: the long term solution is to completely change the way we travel to reduce the traffic on our roads. Further, any action we take now will relieve pressure on our health services in the future and reduce the £20bn cost of dirty air, as calculated by the Royal College of Physicians. As note above, the Air Quality Plan should ensure that car companies, who cheated emissions are appropriately fined and that such levies are used to fund action on air quality. UK regulators, namely, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Vehicle Certification Agency and the Serious Fraud Office, should force car manufacturers in the UK to replace or retrofit polluting diesel vehicles. ω.

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Increase in Extreme West African Storms are Due to Global Warming

A fallen tree in Namibia's Namib desert. Image: World Bank:Philip Schuler

 

|| May 03: 2017: University of Leeds News || ά. Global warming is responsible for tripling the frequency of extreme West African Sahel storms over the last three decades, putting numerous cities in the region at risk, say scientists. An international team, including Professor Douglas Parker, from the University of Leeds, have analysed weather trends from 35 years of satellite observations across Africa.

Their findings, published in Nature, suggest that the power and frequency of intense storms in the Sahel is linked to the increasingly hot conditions in the Sahara desert, caused by global warming. The study estimates that climate change will cause the Sahel, a band of semi-arid land to the south of the Sahara desert, to experience more instances of extreme rain in future. Study Co-author Professor Douglas Parker, a meteorologist at the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds, said, “African storms are highly organised meteorological engines, whose currents extract water from the air to produce torrential rain.

We have seen these engines become more active over recent decades, resulting in increases in hazardous events in a region, that is home to some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.” The Sahel zone in Africa is a region of sharp contrasts, from hot dry conditions over the Sahara in the north, to cooler, moister conditions in the south.

When the temperature of the Sahara increases, the temperature contrast between the two regions causes significant changes in the African Easterly Jet, an airstream, which organises and steers the weather systems in the region. The study found warmer temperatures in the Sahara were associated with the African Easterly Jet becoming stronger and the regional weather systems getting more intense.

The changing dynamics of the weather systems, forced by the Saharan warming, is extracting more water from the atmosphere leading to extreme Sahelian storms. The intense Sahelian storms, also, referred to as Mesoscale Convective Systems:MCSs, are some of the most explosive storms in the world, containing clouds, that can rise 16km above the ground.

The increase in frequency of Sahel storms has put many West African cities at risk of frequent severe flooding, leading to displacement and the spread of disease, due to poor sanitation.

In 2009 a MCS caused a downpour of over 260 millimetres over several hours, destroying more than 250 homes in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. More than 50 per cent of the city’s territory was flooded, including the main hospital.

Lead Author Dr Christopher Taylor, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology part of the Natural Environment Research Council, said, “Global warming is expected to produce more intense storms but we were shocked to see the speed of the changes taking place in this region of Africa.”

The research paper Frequency of extreme Sahelian storms tripled since 1982 in satellite observations is published online in Nature April 27, 2017.
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Where Have You Been Hiding Monitor All This Time: Well I Have Been Right Under Your Nose All Along

Image: University of Turku

 

|| May 02: 2017: University of Turku News || ά. Scientists have recently found and re-described a monitor lizard species from the island of New Ireland in northern Papua New Guinea. It is the only large-growing animal endemic to the island that has survived until modern times. The lizard, Varanus douarrha, was already discovered in the early 19th century, but the type specimen never reached the museum, where it was destined as it appears to have been lost in a shipwreck.

The discovery is, particularly, interesting as most of the endemic species to New Ireland disappeared thousands of years ago as humans colonized the island. The monitor was discovered during fieldwork by Valter Weijola from the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku, Finland, who spent several months surveying the monitor lizards of the Bismarck Islands. It can grow to over 01.3 metres in length and, according to current information, it is the only surviving large species endemic to the island. Based on bone discoveries, scientists now know that at least a large rat species and several flightless birds have lived in the area.

''In that way it can be considered a relic of the historically richer fauna that inhabited the Pacific islands. These medium-sized Pacific monitors are clearly much better at co-existing with humans than many of the birds and mammals have been.'' says Weijola.

Scientists have known for a long time that there are monitor lizards on the island but it has been unclear which species they belong to. French naturalist René Lesson discovered the monitor lizard when visiting the island with the La Coquille exploration ship in 1823 and later named the species Varanus douarrha which, according to Lesson, means monitor lizard in the local Siar-Lak language.

However, it seems likely that Lesson's specimen was destroyed on the way to France as the ship that was carrying it shipwrecked at the Cape of Good Hope in 1824. Therefore, biologist never had a chance to study the so called holotype or name-bearing specimen.

''Since then, it has been believed that the monitor lizards on New Ireland belong to the common mangrove monitor (Varanus indicus) that occurs widely in northern Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands. However, new morphological and genetic studies confirmed that the monitor lizards of New Ireland have lived in isolation for a long time and developed into a separate species.'' says Weijola.

The discovery was published in the Australian Journal of Zoology and where Varanus douarrha was re-described in detail and given a new name bearing specimen. Another monitor lizard, Varanus semotus, was described from Mussau Island last year by the same team of scientists.

''Together, these two species have doubled the number of monitor lizard species known to occur in the Bismarck Archipelago and proved that there are more endemic vertebrates on these islands than previously believed.'' says Weijola.

Monitor lizards are important predators and altogether approximately 90 different species are known to live in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific islands. Most monitor lizards occur in Australia and on the Pacific islands where there are few mammalian predators. Despite their large size, many of the species are poorly known and new ones are regularly discovered. Most of them stay out of sight and inhabit remote areas which are difficult to access.

The research was published in the Australian Journal of Zoology.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Twelfth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests Opens Today

The Selm Muir Forest of West Lothian, Scotland. Image: UN Photo:Robert Clamp

 

|| May 01: 2017 || ά. The twelfth Session of the UN Forum on Forests opened today at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The six forest goals and 26 associated targets, all to be achieved by 2030, the deadline set by UN Member States for the universal attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, were adopted late last week by the UN General Assembly as part of the UN Strategic Plan for Forest 2017-2030, which includes a landmark target to expand the world’s forests by three per cent, an area of 120 million hectares, by 2030.

“Let us make no mistake on this matter, the health of the world’s forests is fundamental to humanity’s place on this planet.” said Assembly President Mr Peter Thomson at the opening of the Forum’s current session, emphasising that forests were home to 80 per cent of the Earth’s land-based animal, plant and insect species. ''Together, they regulate climate, prevent land degradation, reduce the risk of floods, landslides and avalanches and protect people from droughts and dust storms. Forests, also, played a critical role in staving off the worst impacts of climate change, serving as the world’s second-largest storehouse of carbon.'' he said. ''Indeed, the world’s tropical forests alone retained a quarter trillion tons of carbon in biomass.

If we are to succeed in the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the protection and sustainable management of our forests will be fundamental to the security of humanity’s place upon this planet.” Mr. Thomson said, adding that the Assembly’s decision to adopt the first-ever strategic plan was a critical one.

Forests presently cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s land area or nearly four billion hectares. Sustainably managed forests are healthy, productive, resilient and renewable ecosystems, which provide vital goods and ecosystem services to people worldwide. An estimated 25 per cent of the global population depends on forests for their subsistence, livelihood, employment and income.

The UN forests plan provides a global framework for actions to sustainably manage all types of forests and trees outside forests and halt deforestation and forest degradation. The goals cover a wide range of issues including increasing forest area and combating climate change, reducing poverty and increasing forest protected areas, mobilizing financing and inspiring innovation, promoting governance and enhancing cooperation across sectors and stakeholders.

In his opening remarks, Mr Peter Besseau, of Canada, Chair of the twelfth session of the Forum on Forests, said that the landmark global action plan translated the aspirations of the International Arrangement on Forest into an actionable plan to guide the Forums’ work for the next 13 years.

“The Global Forest Goals reflect the way the Forum is transforming its work to more effectively address the challenges facing forests and the lives of the people who depend on them.”

Discussions at the Forum will take into account the 2017 theme of the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world and the SDGs under in-depth review by the HLPF this year.

The Forest Forum will discuss issues related to sustainable forest management and strategies to promote implementation of the UN forest action plan.

The forest-related goals proposed by the UN Forum on Forests and adopted by the UN General Assembly are:

Global Forest Goal One: Reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through sustainable forest management, including protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation, and increase efforts to prevent forest degradation and contribute to the global effort of addressing climate change.

Global Forest Goal Two: Enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits, including by improving the livelihoods of forest dependent people.

Global Forest Goal Three: Increase significantly the area of protected forests worldwide and other areas of sustainably managed forests, as well as the proportion of forest products from sustainably managed forests.

Global Forest Goal Four: Mobilise significantly increased, new and additional financial resources from all sources for the implementation of sustainable forest management and strengthen scientific and technical cooperation and partnerships.

Global Forest Goal Five: Promote governance frameworks to implement sustainable forest management, including through the UN Forest Instrument, and enhance the contribution of forests to the 2030 Agenda.

Global Forest Goal Six: Enhance cooperation, coordination, coherence and synergies on forest-related issues at all levels, including within the UN System and across Collaborative Partnership on Forests member organisations, as well as across sectors and relevant stakeholders. ω.

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Light Pollution Has Serious Impact on Coastal Wildlife: New Research

 

|| April 29: 2017: University of Exeter News || ά. Scientists have recognised for some years that light pollution from buildings, vehicles and streetlights is a growing phenomenon that impact on the behaviour and success of many animals, including migrating birds, hunting bats and the moths they try to capture. As the human population grows the problem is due to worsen and even remote coastal areas are now being affected. Turtles, disoriented as they return to their nesting beaches or confused hatchlings, struggling to find the sea, are iconic examples.

Now, a new study conducted by scientists from the University of Exeter and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory looks at the true extent to which light pollution is affecting key marine wildlife in the UK. The research team set up a series of laboratory experiments to determine whether the less well known but highly important inhabitants of the seashore were, also, affected. Using the dogwhelk, Nucella lapillus, a key seashore species, that modulates biodiversity and community structure of our coasts, they kept one group of dogwhelks in artificially-lit night sky conditions, while a control group experienced a more natural night:day cycle.

The research showed that those dogwhelks kept under artificial lighting conditions were less likely to seek out shelter and spent longer seeking food, putting them at exposed risk to predators and placing them in more stressful conditions.

The study showed, for the first time, that night time light changes species interactions at the heart of the way, in which, natural food chains work, raising concern about how generalised these impacts, may be, for natural marine wildlife.

Dr Thomas Davies, from the University of Exeter, highlighted how historically overlooked the impacts of light pollution on coastal ecosystems has been. He said, “There has been a surge of research into the impacts of artificial lighting on land animals and plants over the last six years but the influence on coastal animals of lights from harbours, marinas, piers and promenades has received very little attention.

Understanding how to manage ecosystems to improve biodiversity gains is as important in the built marine environment as it is in our city parks, gardens, streets, rivers and canals. This study highlights that night-time lighting in coastal cities can impact biodiversity on rocky shores popular with beachgoers, that enjoy the diversity of life they offer year round.”

Dogwhelks are far from unimportant along rocky coasts, where they can occur in dense aggregations and play a key role in the ecological balance, feeding on barnacles, limpets and mussels.

Disturbing these balances can have major ramifications across habitats and up food webs. PML Senior Ecologist Dr Ana Queirós, who co-authored the study, said, “It is not just nesting turtles and hatchlings on the beaches that are affected: it is the whole way, in which, shore food chains work, because this is tightly dependent on species interactions, such as the ones we measured: who eats who.

We must be cautious with generalisations but we have been slow in recognising night time light as a worldwide marine issue. However, unlike for climate change, the solution for night time light pollution is well within our reach, as restricting use of lights to specific colours can much limit their negative impacts on wildlife, as has been shown in terrestrial studies. We should be acting on coastal light pollution immediately, because this time, we can actually fix the problem.” ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Sea Levels Could Rise by More Than Three Metres: News Study

Flood defences such as the Thames Barrier must take account of worst-case sea level scenarios. Image: University of Southampton

 

|| April 27: 2017: University of Southampton  News || ά. Global sea levels could rise by more than three metres, over half a metre more than previously thought, this century alone, according to a new study co-authored by a University of Southampton scientist. An international team including Professpr Sybren Drijfhout, Professor in Physical Oceanography and Climate Physics, looked at what might happen if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated.

Using new projections of Antarctic mass loss and a revised statistical method, they concluded that a worst-case scenario of a 02.5 to three-metre sea level rise was possible by 2100. Professor Drijfhout said, “It might be an unlikely scenario, but we can’t exclude the possibility of global sea levels rising by more than three metres by the year 2100. Unabated global warming will lead to sea-level rise of many metres, possibly more than ten metres, within a few centuries, seriously threatening many cities all over the world, that are built in low-lying river deltas. This will, also, seriously affect the coastline of the UK.”

The research, published this month in Environmental Research Letters, is consistent with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s:NOAA, recent adjustment of its possible future high-end sea-level rise from two to 02.5 metres. However, the new study integrated different model estimates with a new statistical method, whereas the NOAA estimate relied on expert judgment.

Recent observation and modelling studies have shown the future melt of Antarctica might happen dramatically faster than previously thought. Professor Drijfhout and scientists at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, which led the research, took this and other factors, including ocean warming, glacier melt, land water storage and Greenland ice sheet melt, into account to create their projection.

“This is the first time, that robust statistical techniques have been used to develop a scenario like this, whereas previous high-end sea level projections have always been based on subjective expert judgment.” said Professor Drijfhout.

“It’s important for policy-makers and the general public to know what the consequences might be when carbon dioxide emissions are not decreased, especially as there is a severe time-lag between emission-reduction and the sea-level rise response.

Also, the construction of artificial flood defences need to take account of low-probability events, including the possibility, that the international community fails to take adequate measures in reducing measures.

We should not forget that the Paris Agreement is only a declaration of intention and that no adequate measures have yet been agreed to turn these intentions into policy.” The team’s projection explicitly accounted for three scientific uncertainties, the speed, at which, the Antarctic ice sheet is going to melt, the speed, at which, the ocean is warming up and the amount of emitted greenhouse gases over the 21st century.
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New Research on Greenhouse Gas Removal in the Land Sector: Seeking to Address the Gaps Between What's Pledged Through Paris Agreement and What is Necessary to Limit Climate Change

 

|| April 22: 2017: University of Bristol  News || ά. A University of Bristol academic will lead one of seven topic-specific projects announced yesterday by NERC as part of a £08.6million research programme, which will investigate ways to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to counteract global warming. The Paris agreement commits countries to limit climate warming to 'well below two degrees C  but modelling studies show that it is unlikely that we will be able to meet the target without removing a significant quantity of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Options for achieving this include large-scale afforestation, forest management, agricultural management to increase the uptake of carbon in soils and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage of emissions. 196 countries have submitted emission reduction pledges under the Paris Agreement, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions:INDCs with the land sector, accounting for about a quarter of planned mitigation, mainly from reduced deforestation and forest management.

A large gap exists between pledged mitigation and what is necessary to achieve a two degrees target and specific information is necessary on land sector Greenhouse Gas Removal:GGR options.

This project, led by Dr Joanna House, from the University's School of Geographical Sciences and Cabot Institute, will quantify the emissions reduction gap in the land sector at a country level for major countries and analyse the potential land sector contribution to closing the emissions gap and raise the ambition of countries’ future pledges.

Transparency in reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions, as required under the Paris Agreement, is essential to ensure mitigation effectiveness. This project will work with both the science and policy communities to join up approaches to support action towards the Paris agreement in the land sector.

Dr House said, "This project offers a great opportunity to do some timely work, that will help with achieving the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The land sector is key in greenhouse gas removal, providing a quarter of mitigation potential, pledged by countries under the Paris Agreement.  Our work will go towards ensuring transparency, accuracy and efficiency of land sector removals, raising ambition for even great efforts in the future."
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New Research to Study Carbon Removal to Inform Climate Policy

A view of icebergs in Ilulissat Icefjord Greenland, where the melting of ice sheets is accelerating. Image: UN Photo:Mark Garten



|| April 21: 2017: University of Edinburgh News || ά. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh are to carry out research to inform approaches to tackling climate change. Their studies will examine the potential to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to help prevent climate change. The approach, known as Greenhouse Gas Removal, is suggested to help to keep total emissions within a fixed budget, consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement climate change treaty. Scientists from the School of GeoSciences will work on two projects.

A £240,000 project, known as Metrics for Emissions Removal Limits for Nature:MERLiN, will use climate models to explore the impacts of drawing down carbon dioxide decades after it was emitted. Researchers will investigate how the impacts of climate change differ between reducing emissions rapidly now or using greenhouse gas removal in the future. Elsewhere, researchers will work with collaborators at the University of Newcastle and Scotland’s Rural College in a £01.8 million project led by the University of Aberdeen, to assess the global potential for using soil to store carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere.

Edinburgh scientists will help model the potential for carbon enrichment of soils, including strategic use of charcoal in the form of biochar and promoting the formation of carbonate minerals. In addition, they will consider the potential interface of such soils with plants, the methods’ translation into agricultural practice, and the economic impact.

Both studies form part of an £08.6 million investment at UK institutions to evaluate the potential and implications of greenhouse gas removal approaches. Outcomes from the research will be used to inform policymakers about how to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

This requires global temperature rise to be kept below 02°C and seeks to limit the global temperature increase to 01.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

The programme is jointly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The Met Office and the Science and Technology Facilities Council are providing in-kind support.

''Emissions reductions currently planned by the world’s governments are insufficient to achieve the Paris Agreements’ targets. Meeting these targets appears reliant on future greenhouse gas removal, which is so far little understood and developed. Our work seeks to better understand the potential for greenhouse gas removal to inform how much it might help address climate change.'' said Dr Vivian Scott, School of GeoSciences.
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Intensity of Catastrophic Storms in Europe Has Increased Since 1990

Image: Bengt Wickström

|| April 19: 2017 || ά. The Finnish Meteorological Institute:FMI researchers showed that storm-induced forest damage went through a change point in 1990. After 1990 the worst storms have been 03.5 times as catastrophic as before, mainly because of climate change. The FMI has investigated intense large scale storms based on their impacts on primary forest damage in Europe over the period 1951-2010. It was already known that storm-induced primary damage has grown in that period but it was considered to be mainly due to increase in total growing stock and forest management practices, such as preference for Norway spruce.

However, the FMI researchers found that storm-induced forest damage went through a statistically significant change point in 1990. "After 1990 the worst storms have been 03.5 times as catastrophic as before. This type of change cannot be caused by a change in forest management practices. Instead, it is related to a change in storm climate." says the Head of Unit, Hilppa Gregow from FMI. The study, further, addressed the storms' gust wind speeds, that have been measured since the 1980's. Hilppa Gregow says that in all of the most catastrophic storms, which include Wiebke in 1990, Lothar  in 1999, Martin in 1999, Gudrun in 2005, Kyrill in 2007 and Klaus in 2009, the highest gust speeds were between 50  and 60 m:s.

It has been recently shown that the stems of all kinds of trees will break when wind speed exceeds 42 m:s, whereas Norway spruce can be uprooted at lower wind speeds. "Therefore, the change point in forest damage in 1990 may, at least, partially, be due to the strongest storms having more widespread gusts with wind speeds exceeding 42 m:s" says Hilppa Gregow.

The FMI study, further, found that the worsening of the catastrophic storms is a wintertime, December-February, phenomenon, whereas the intensity of the strongest autumn storms has decreased since 1990. Hilppa Gregow says that, although, the North Atlantic oscillation:NAO correlates with storminess in general, the researches were not able to relate the 1990 change point to changes in NAO. Climate change, on the other hand, could have an impact on the storms. For example, recent studies have found simultaneous changes in the Arctic ocean summertime ice cover and North Atlantic wind climate.

For further information contact Head of Group Hilppa Gregow, tel. +358 29 539 3510, hilppa.gregow at fmi.fi:
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Water Management and Fertilisation Effects on Rice Rhizodeposition and Carbon Stabilisation in Paddy Soils

|| April 18: 2017: Chinese Academy of Sciences News || ά. Paddy soil, the largest anthropogenic soil on earth, plays a strategic role in the global carbon sequestration. However, an understanding of how paddy soil plays its role in mitigating the global increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations requires investigation into the management of SOC sources, pools, spatial distribution and stabilisation processes. As a major crop grown on paddy soil, rice depends on fertiliser N inputs and good water management for its success. An estimated 90% of the total irrigated water, allocated to crops, goes into rice production.

However, regular irrigation requires enormous energy input and supplying fresh water for continuously flooded paddies is increasingly unsustainable due to competitive demands from urban and industrial fronts. The perceived benefits of efficient water-use and improved yield of alternating flooding and drying water management has made it popular in rice cultivation. Drying-rewetting cycles, however, have major implications on below-ground plant-soil-microbe interactions, such as instantaneous C and N mineralisation, as well as shifts in microbial use and stabilisation of rhizodeposited nutrients.

Further, increased photosynthate partitioning and allocation belowground have been reported under drying-rewetting in rice. Despite these consequences, little is known about the combined effects of water management and N fertilisation on the partitioning and allocation of rice photosynthates in above and below ground paddy soil systems. Further, the distribution of rice-derived C across different aggregate fractions as it relates to water management and N fertilisation is poorly understood.

The research group from the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences:ISA, therefore, investigated how water management, continuous vs. alternating flooding-drying and N fertilisation interact to affect the partitioning and stabilisation of newly plant-derived C in the rice-soil system.

They continuously labelled rice, ‘Zhongzao 39’, with 13CO2 under a combination of different water regimes, alternating flooding-drying vs. continuous flooding, and N addition, 250 mg N kg-1 urea vs. no addition and then followed 13C incorporation into plant parts as well as soil fractions.

They hypothesised that an alternating water regime and N fertilisation would increase rhizodeposition via enhanced root activity compared with continuous flooding. It was expected that the surge in microbial activitie, and hence, their increased use of rhizodeposits under flooding-drying episodes would reduce C stabilisation. They then hypothesised that N addition would increase rhizodeposition through enhancing photosynthesis and the associated larger input of available OC would increase macroaggregation in rhizosphere soils under both water regimes.

The researchers found out that the interactive effects of water regimes and N fertilisation increased rice shoot biomass, as well as the allocation and stabilisation of newly plant-derived C in the rice-soil system.

Moreover, N application was more effective in the alternating flooding-drying treatment than in continuous flooding, causing a larger increase to recent assimilate deposition in rhizosphere macroaggregates, microaggregates and silt and clay-size fractions.

Thus, combining N application with a drying-rewetting water management stabilised rhizodeposited C in soil more effectively than other tested conditions. Hence, in addition to benefits, such as cost reduction, water use efficiency and yield increase, the positive impact on sequestration makes this combined management system desirable for rice cropping.

The Paper: 'Rice rhizodeposition and carbon stabilization in paddy soils is regulated via drying-rewetting cycles and nitrogen fertilization' can be accessed online in Biology and Fertility of Soils. The research was supported financially by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Royal Society Newton Advanced Fellowship.
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Aberdeen's Royal Tern: Don't Bow: Fly: No Thank You: We are Going to Listen to the Photon Symphony a Little Longer as We Watch the Tides Turn and Twirl and Swirl and Twist and Rise and Fall and Flow and Reach Into All Aqua-Marine-Blues and Full Emerald-Greens

Two Royal Tern's, background, alongside a Lesser Crested Tern, foreground, new research shows they are more closely related than previously thought.
Image: University of Aberdeen
 


|| April 14: 2017: University of Aberdeen News || ά. The Royal Tern, a large, tropical, fish-eating seabird with a bright orange bill, was previously thought to have two subspecies, ‘maximus’, found in the Americas and the ‘albididorsalis’, found in parts of West Africa. But wildlife conservation teams in the Gambia long-suspected that the West African birds were distinct and now scientists at the University of Aberdeen have used DNA analysis to show they are not subspecies of the same bird but two distinct species. The discovery could have immediate conservation consequences for the West African Royal Tern as its population is threatened by the eroding of its breeding grounds, due to climate change and human activity.

The researchers have, further, shown that the West African Royal Tern is more closely related to the Lesser Crested Tern, which is a lot smaller and has a yellow bill.
The findings have been published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. The research will be presented to international conservation authorities in a bid to have its conservation status re-evaluated. Scientists at the University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with those from universities of Montpellier and Hull, made the discovery by analysing DNA sequences of feathers and other remains of West African Royal Terns from Mauritania and from islands off the Tanji Bird Reserve in the Gambia.

It is the first time anyone has ever sequenced the DNA of the West African Royal Tern. The process allows the researchers to compare a bird’s DNA sequence with every other bird, that has been studied in this way, using online tools with software able to establish a bird’s closest matches. The resulting search showed the West African Royal Tern’s nearest relative was not the American variant but the Lesser Crested Tern, a very similar bird, which is smaller with a yellower bill.

The research was led by the University of Aberdeen, in conjunction with the University of Montpellier, the University of Hull, the Department of Wildlife and Ornithologist Mr Clive Barlow in The Gambia.

“West African and American Royal Terns have long been considered the same species.” explains Professor Martin Collinson from the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences. “They look pretty much identical to each other, except the American Royal Tern is on average slightly bigger with a slightly redder bill.

This research should have an impact on the West African Royal Tern’s conservation status. The breeding grounds in the Gambia and Senegal have been massively eroded by storms and the encroaching human population, so the West African Royal Tern is under threat. Conservationists in the Gambia can now take this information to their Government and potential donors and call for help to protect this West African endemic species.

It’s information that can inform conservation priorities. There is a limited pot of money and information, such as this, helps determine where it should be allocated. It is important to direct conservation funds to preserve the maximum amount of genetic variation and genetic biodiversity, in addition to understanding the inherent societal, cultural and economic importance of the birds themselves.”
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New Project to Turning Waste Products Into Biodegradable Packaging

 

|| April 13: 2017: University of South Wales News  || ά. Scientists in South Wales are taking part in a multi-million-euro research project, that is looking at ways of turning waste, such as sewage and food waste into biodegradable packaging for consumer goods. The University of South Wales is part of the three-year €03m Horizon 2020-funded project, which is combining a range of biological techniques to produce alternatives to petroleum based plastics. The project, Res Urbis, is aiming to use waste to produce new environmentally-friendly bioproducts, as well as exploring ways to extract energy and nutrients.

The team hopes that the bioproducts will then be used in packaging applications, particularly, for durable goods, such as computers, tablets and phones, with lower environmental impact than current polymer based materials. There’s a total of 21 institutions and enterprises across eight European countries contributing to the project, which is being co-ordinated by the University of Rome, La Sapienza. A team from Sustainable Environment Research Centre:SERC at the the University is leading the South Wales Cluster, working with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, and Cardiff City Council to evaluate the availability of raw materials.

Professor Alan Guwy, Head of SERC, said, “Using municipal solid waste, food waste and the excess sludge from wastewater to produce alternative forms of energy is not new. However, the integrated and flexible 'bio-waste biorefinery approach' in Res Urbis aims to create new bio-based products, as well as bioenergy from wastes, which could potentially offer a more profitable way of using organic waste.

“USW will be focusing on the acid fermentation of an innovative waste biorefinery process. We will be developing ways of producing hydrogen and volatile fatty acids:VFAs from food waste and sludge from urban wastewater. The VFAs, that are produced, will provide the feedstock for the next step in the process and the production of the new bioproducts.'

The development and integration of innovative technologies, such as those proposed in this project, with existing anaerobic digestion techniques allow the transformation of significant amounts of organic material into useful bioproducts. They will have a high market value, with positive impacts on the environment, economy and employment.”

The research team is comprised by Professor Guwy, alongside Professor Iano Premier, Professor Richard Dinsdale, Dr Jaime Massanet Nicolau and Dr Tim Patterson.
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World: Say Hello to the Newly Discovered Tolo Harbour Hong Kong Arboreal Crab: Look Up to the Kandelia Obovata Tree

An adult male Haberma tingkok, left, in its natural environment, the branches of mangrove tree Kandelia obovata. Note the long legs grasping the branch.

 

|| April 12: 2017: University of Hong Kong News || ά.  The Mangrove Ecology and Evolution Lab, led by Dr Stefano Cannicci at the Swire Institute of Marine Sciences:SWIMS and School of Biological Sciences, the University of Hong Kong, has recently discovered, described and named a new species of mangrove-climbing micro-crab from Hong Kong, Haberma tingkok, and published the description in Zookeys, a peer-reviewed and open access international journal dedicated to animal taxonomy.  The new species has been given the scientific name of Haberma tingkok, since all the specimens found at present were spotted at a height of approximately 01.5 to 01.8 metres above chart datum, walking along the branches of the mangroves of the Ting Kok area.

The crabs are small, less than a centimetre long, predominantly dark brown, with a squarish carapace, very long legs and orange claws. It represents the second endemic mangrove crab species described in Hong Kong. The previous one, Pseudosesarma patshuni, was described in 1975. This endemic tree-crab was previously unknown to science and it is only known, at present, to have come from Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong. It is Hong Kong’s first truly arboreal crab, i.e. living on the branches and canopies of mangroves and breathing air. Its closest relatives, i.e. crabs of the same genus, are only known to be found in the mangroves of Singapore and Indonesian New Guinea but they are all normal crabs, that live in the mud. They do not climb trees.

Year 4 undergraduate student Mr Steven Wong Ho-tin, School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor Dr Stefano Cannicci, Dr Kevin Ho King-yan from SWIMS
and Research Assistant Miss Cherry Cheung Cheuk-yiu. Stefano and Kevin display the male and female specimens of Haberma tingkok respectively.
 

The first known individual of Haberma tingkok was found in the mangroves of Ting Kok at the end of last summer, during one of the routine biodiversity samplings carried out by a group of HKU undergraduate students majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity and research assistants. At the time, they were conducting a multi-institutional project funded by the Hong Kong Environment and Conservation Fund:ECF, Assessing the Marine Biodiversity and Ecology of Tolo Harbour and Channel, with particular Reference to Coastal Marine Environments of Ting Kok and Shuen Wan Hoi - Phase I'. The Project is co-ordinated by the Director of SWIMS, Professor Gray A Williams and managed by Dr Kevin Ho King-yan.

During the sampling, Mr Steven Wong Ho-tin, a year four undergraduate student majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity at HKU, found a mature, female crab of unusually small dimensions on the mangrove branches and showed it to Dr Cannicci, Associate Professor at HKU School of Biological Sciences, who immediately realised that the crab was not a common one in Hong Kong as it had some much-specialised features.

Although the vast majority of crabs are marine and freshwater species, there are some groups that, along their evolutionary history, developed the uncommon ability to climb trees, especially in a mangrove habitat. This crab had the characteristics of a tree climber, extremely elongated legs, with respect to the body, which is very flattened, and she was carrying eggs, a clear indication that it had extreme confidence in living up in the branches of tress.

Since the identification of this group of crabs, i.e. the common mangrove crabs, known as the Sesarmidae, can only be finalised by studying males, a large scale crab-hunt started, involving the whole group of students and researchers from HKU. It was Miss Cherry Cheung Cheuk-yiu, a research assistant at HKU, who finally spotted the first known male of this species.

Under the microscope, in Dr Cannicci’s laboratory, it was clear that the crab was the first record of the crab genus Haberma in Hong Kong, since in this group the males have a peculiar locking-system on the second and third walking, probably for grasping females while mating. This new identification was confirmed by Dr Cannicci during a visit to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum of the National University of Singapore and published by Dr Cannicci and Professor Peter Ng Kee-lin, Director of the Museum.

The discovery of this new crab species shows how little is known about the diversity of crabs in Hong Kong. On the basis of the number of known species from Japan and Taiwan, marine biologists from all over the world estimate that we only know up to 50-60% of the real diversity of coastal and littoral crabs in Hong Kong, which is far less than the ratio known for many other marine species.

That is why the above-mentioned project on marine biodiversity in the Tolo Harbour area led by HKU and involving five other universities in Hong Kong is of paramount importance, and echoed the development of the Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan:BSAP initiated by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Adminsitrative Region under the United Nations’ Convention of Biological Diversity.

The journal article on Haberma tingkok is available here.

Information on the project ‘Assessing the Marine Biodiversity and Ecology of Tolo Harbour and Channel, with particular Reference to Coastal Marine Environments of Ting Kok and Shuen Wan Hoi - Phase I’.

About the HKU Mangrove Ecology and Evolution Laboratory: The recently established Mangrove Ecology and Evolution Laboratory:the Laboratory, based at SWIMS, HKU, is interested in various aspects of mangrove ecology and crab biology. The group aims to study the patterns of diversity of crabs and molluscs in Hong Kong, East African and South East Asian mangroves and their role in ecosystem functioning. There is a steady and alarming trend in decrease of mangrove forests all over the world and the SWIMS Mangrove Lab is deeply involved in their conservation, as members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Mangrove Specialist Group. In particular, the group is involved in studying the impact of pollution and land reclamation on Hong Kong mangroves, and it will lead the two-year project 'Hong Kong mangroves: where are they now?', funded by the Hong Kong Environment and Conservation Fund and aiming at assessing the biodiversity and health of mangrove forests, for conservation and management purposes. ω.

SWIMS Dr Stefano Cannicci: tel: 2299 0673; email: cannicci at hku.hk

Images: Mangrove Ecology and Evolution Laboratory, SWIMS, University of Hong Kong

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Future CO2 and Climate Warming Potentially Unprecedented in 420 Million Years

2015 is the Hottest Year on Record:UN WMO: Cooling off on a waterfall. Image: UN Photo:Victoria Hazou
 

|| April 11: 2017: University of Southampton News || ά. New research led by the University of Southampton suggests that, over the next 100 to 200 years, carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere will head towards values not seen since the Triassic period, 200 million years ago. By the 23rd century, the climate could reach a warmth not seen in 420 million years. The study, published in Nature Communications, compiled over 1200 estimates of ancient atmospheric carbon dioxide:CO2 concentrations to produce a continuous record, dating back nearly half a billion years.

The Study concludes that, if humanity burns all available fossil fuels in the future, the levels of CO2 contained in the atmosphere may have no geologically-preserved equivalent during this 420 million year period. The researchers examined published data on fossilised plants, the isotopic composition of carbon in soils and the oceans, and the boron isotopic composition of fossil shells. Professor Gavin Foster, Lead Author and Professor of Isotope Geochemistry at the University of Southampton, explains, “We cannot directly measure CO2 concentrations from millions of years ago.

Instead we rely on indirect ‘proxies’ in the rock record. In this study, we compiled all the available published data from several different types of proxy to produce a continuous record of ancient CO2 levels.” This wealth of data shows that CO2 concentrations have naturally fluctuated on multi-million year timescales over this period, from around 200-400 parts per million:ppm during cold ‘icehouse’ periods to up to 3000 ppm during intervening warm ‘greenhouse’ periods.

Although evidence tells us our climate has fluctuated greatly in the past, with the Earth currently in a colder period, it shows the current speed of climate change is highly unusual. Carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas and in the last 150 years humanity’s fossil fuel use has increased its atmospheric concentration from 280 ppm in the pre-industrialisation era to nearly 405 ppm in 2016.

However, it’s not just CO2 that determines the climate of our planet, ultimately it is both the strength of the greenhouse effect and the amount of incoming sunlight that is important. Changes in either parameter are able to force climate change.

“Due to nuclear reactions in stars, like our sun, over time they become brighter.” adds co-author Dan Lunt, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Bristol. “This means that, although carbon dioxide concentrations were high hundreds of millions of years ago, the net warming effect of CO2 and sunlight was less. Our new CO2 compilation appears on average to have gradually declined over time by about 03-04 ppm per million years. This may not sound like much, but it is actually just about enough to cancel out the warming effect caused by the sun brightening through time, so in the long-term it appears the net effect of both was pretty much constant on average.”

This interplay between carbon dioxide and the sun’s brightness has fascinating implications for the history of life on Earth. Co-author Professor Dana Royer, from Wesleyan University in the US, explains, “Up until now it’s been a bit of a puzzle as to why, despite the sun’s output having increased slowly over time, scant evidence exists for any similar long-term warming of the climate. Our finding of little change in the net climate forcing offers an explanation for why Earth’s climate has remained relatively stable, and within the bounds suitable for life for all this time.”

This long-term view also offers a valuable perspective on future climate change. It is well recognised that the climate today is changing at rates well above the geological norm. If humanity fails to tackle rising CO2 and burns all the readily available fossil fuel, by AD 2250 CO2 will be at around 2000 ppm, levels not seen since 200 million years ago.

Professor Foster said, “However, because the Sun was dimmer back then, the net climate forcing 200 million years ago was lower than we would experience in such a high CO2 future. So not only will the resultant climate change be faster than anything the Earth has seen for millions of years, the climate that will exist is likely to have no natural counterpart, as far as we can tell, in at least the last 420 million years.”

This collaborative study involves the University of Southampton and University of Bristol, UK, and Wesleyan University, US and is an output from ‘Descent into the Ice House’, one of the four research projects under the umbrella programme ‘The Long-term Co-Evolution of Life and the Planet’ funded the by the Natural Environment Research Council:NERC.
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Éireann, O'Reann Quit O'Celtic: How Does Your O'Grass Grow

 

|| April 08: 2017: Maynooth University Ireland News || ά. Studies by Dr Caroline Brophy, Department of Mathematics and Statistics in Maynooth University, can help farmers grow more grass and, thereby, feed more animals. More than half of Ireland is covered in grassland. Economically this 'crop' is important for the beef and dairy cattle farmers. Dr Brophy’s research results suggest getting the seed recipe right has positive impacts on yields and could lessen the need for added fertiliser. The main aim of a large study, that Dr Brophy worked on, was straightforward: whether planting two types of grass and two legumes, e.g. clover, one fast and one slow to establish, was better than just one type of grass.

But to get a definitive answer to this question is not so simple. It meant trying out different mixtures in many different places. Across Europe, 31 sites took part in the study, which ran for three years. The reams of data collected, meant that statisticians were needed to wade in and help understand it all, a big data project, which Dr Brophy, Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, relished. “We found strong diversity effects, with better yields from mixtures.” says Dr Brophy, who was part of a large group of statisticians and biologists, working on the study. This 'mixing effect' was above and beyond what you might expect from growing any plant on its own. In many fields, farmers plant one variety of grass; but this research shows monoculture may not be the best option.

Dr Brophy was tasked with finding out why the bonus yield occurs by using her statistical training to tackle the big data pile. “We can measure the way two species interact together and use that information to consider how best we could maximise outputs.” Dr Brophy explains. Monocultures were planted but, also, various proportions of the four-species mixtures, which meant lots of measurements.

“What we saw from the study was that mixing gave a strong diversity effect and so higher yields.'' .” says Dr Brophy. ''Why four types of plants gives more feed for animals can be partly explained by the extra nitrogen fixed by the legumes.'' she says. This can replace expensive mineral nitrogen. Variation in plant strategies helps, too. “Think of putting two types of species together. If, for example, one is deeper rooted than the other, it is able to go further down for nutrients and water, so you utilise the system better.” says Dr Brophy. Her statistical acumen allowed her to crunch the data and show how different species interacted.

“Diverse systems are, also, better at resisting weeds. This is because on its own, one species might be susceptible to certain conditions. For example, a tall weed might invade and take over but diversity helps protects against that.” Brophy explains. Better insight here will allow for fields with more growth.

Further, the study needed to look at how long the positives would last. Legumes wane and the slow growing grass becomes more dominant but yield benefits remained even into the third year. “The benefit of mixing persists and that is really powerful and provides additional motivation for farmer’s to consider mixture grassland swards.” Dr Brophy explains.

In addition, diversity can make for a farm, that is more resilient to change or unexpected knocks. The next step for the Maynooth statistician is to look at how diversity might protect against climate extremes, which is a growing concern. Climate change suggests Ireland might have water shortages, more intense rainfall events or colder winters and farmers need to think about coping strategies.

“If you end up with a summer without much rain or a winter, that is extremely cold, how do you cope with that? Can diversity help protect against climate extremes?” Dr Brophy questions.

These critical questions have both statistical sides and biological sides. “I’m learning all the time.” says Dr Brophy, who had not studied biology for her science degree. “There has been so much more about biodiversity in recent years.” she says. “And there are lots of statistical challenges in this area. I can combine my statistical expertise with an area I feel passionate about.”

She reads lots of ecology literature and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Ecology. But equally, she has converted some plant scientists to her love of statistics. The learning for statisticians and biologists is a two-way street. She recalls a training workshop when the project scientists from across Europe came to hear how they could apply statistics to the data they had collected.

''Ask someone, would they like to learn a statistical model and you might get a ho-hum response but ask them if they would like to learn how to better understand their own data, well that changes things.'' Dr Brophy says. She travelled to Sweden, Norway, Austria, Iceland and Italy during her work on the 31-site European project. Though not from a farming background, she was keen to don wellies and get out into the field to see where the data was coming from. This gives an advantage when it comes to looking at numbers on the spreadsheet.

“If you don’t understand the process by which the data were generated, it can lead you up the wrong path in terms of how you analyse.” she explains. “And it helps if you understand the practicalities involved.”

For this study, legume plants had to be separated from grass and large fields might be cut five times in one year. So subsamples and grab samples are used and then researchers extrapolate up. You could not separate all species every time the field is cut. It's a simple example but the message is, it’s always helpful to get out and see the experiment in action.

She recently embarked on a new project looking at the reliability of Met Éireann weather forecasts and how to improve predictions about grass growth for farmers. The idea would be to predict, using weather forecasts, what kind of grass growth a farmer might expect in a coming week. This might be accessed via an online tool or app but whirring underneath it would be statistical insights from Maynooth.
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The Sodankylä Arctic Space Centre Will Not Be Cold in Seeking to Answer All Your Questions in the Cold Climate

Image: Matias Takala

 

|| April 06: 2017 || ά. What does the Arctic region's snow cover look like today? How thick was the ice that covered the Arctic Ocean in January? Will we see the Aurora Borealis in the near future? The Finnish Meteorological Institute's Arctic Space Centre will provide answers to all these questions and many others. Sodankylä's Arctic Space Centre has expanded from a satellite data centre to a place where the entire chain is handled from the reception of satellite data, to processing and distribution and then the utilisation of data. The data can be utilised for example by environmental and security authorities.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute's Arctic Space Centre's infrastructure expanded again on April 05, when a new approximately 15-metre high SOD03 satellite data receiving antenna was taken into use. The antenna is the third receiving antenna in the area. "However, this antenna is only one part of the centre, that has been established in Sodankylä over the years." Head of the FMI's Arctic Research Unit Jouni Pulliainen states.  The Arctic Space Centre is tasked with producing important data from the Arctic regions utilising the newest satellite and space technology. The centre produces services, that are of importance to the Arctic region's
security.

Data transmitted by satellites can be utilised e.g. in meteorological services, flood prediction systems, ice services and shipping. One of its key applications is the monitoring of the Baltic's ice situation for the needs of winter-time maritime transport. The service is based on the radar satellite materials produced in Sodankylä. "Satellite data will be received real-time from satellites flying over Sodankylä. After this, the data will be processed into the end product, which will be transmitted immediately to the bridge of an icebreaker operating in the Baltic Sea.''

Additionally, the Arctic Space Centre will combine Arctic expertise and space technology in a more diverse way than previously. The long time series obtained from satellite observations can also be used e.g. in climate change research. The data is important especially in Arctic regions, where the effects of climate change are already particularly evident.

"The Arctic Space Centre is a concrete investment that will help Finland achieve the objectives it has set for its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. As chairman, Finland must also be able to react to the environmental development of the Arctic regions, as climate change will impact on the future of the entire Arctic region." Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner stated.

Today, Sodankylä also processes, distributes and archives observations that satellites transmit nearly in real-time from Finland, Europe and the entire northern hemisphere. Sodankylä produces e.g. unique satellite-based data on the northern hemisphere's snow cover and soil freezing as services financed by the European Union, EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency.

Participation in the Copernicus Collaborative Ground Segment network is also an essential part of Sodankylä's activities. The European Union's enormous Copernicus Programme's Sentinel satellites form a service network for the EU's environmental data. Further, the centre is well-equipped with a variety of observation instruments that can help in verifying the accuracy of various satellite measurements.

"Without these reference measurements, the observation data produced by satellites would be qualitatively unusable." Mr Pulliainen notes. The Arctic Space Centre's partners and financiers include international space agencies, ESA, EUMETSAT, NASA, NOAA, the European Union and numerous other national organisations and research institutes, such as the Finnish Environment Institute:SYKE and the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory.

Sodankylä's infrastructure has been developed so that large satellite data masses are accessible via machine-readable interface or as a cloud service. The cloud service and virtual computing platform built in Sodankylä facilitate the development and production of new added value services and products. In principle, a lot of the data are entirely free. "In the long-term, I believe that some entirely new business will be established at some point that will be based on this data." states Jouni Pulliainen from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

On account of new development work and expansion of activities, Sodankylä is, becoming a test platform for intelligent transport research. A versatile infrastructure is currently under construction in Sodankylä; it will combine the Five-G network, intelligent transport services, weather expertise and challenging winter conditions.

Contact: Research Professor Jouni Pulliainen, tel. +358 29 539 4701: jouni.pulliainen at fmi.fi: ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Now the Poet Has Found His Isfahan in the Iris



|| April 04: 2017: Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Iran News || ά. The academic members of the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad:FUM’s Botany Department at the Plant Studies Research Centre managed to discover and introduce a new plant species in Khorasan in Iran to the world. Public Relations of the University reported that Dr. Farshid Memariani and Mohammadreza Joharchi, academic members of the Botany Department of this research centre succeeded in discovering this new species.

This new found plant belongs to the genus Iris and belongs to the Iridaceae, which has been collected for the first time from the mountains of Hezarmasjed and Allahoakbar, Northern Khorasan Razavi Province and was announced as a new species of botany after specialised botanical studies on the samples at the herbarium and in its natural habitats. This new species was scientifically named Iris Ferdowsii after the famous Iranian Poet, Hakim Abu-Alghasem Ferdowsi.

Its sample type or document is stored under No. 45170 at the Herbarium of the University. It should be mentioned that the habitat of the sample type lies at the hillsides of Hezarmasjed, which overlooks Paj Village, the birth place of Ferdowsi. Iris Ferdowsii grows at a height of 1,400 m to 2,750 m in mountainous steppes with gentle slopes and limestone bed and considering the plant taxonomy it belongs to the wild relatives of ornamental iris.

Considering the sporadic population of this plant and the destruction of its habitats by livestock overgrasing, plowing mountain pastures for rainfed agriculture and road operations, this beautiful and valuable species is at the risk of extinction, based on the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature:IUCN. The report of this scientific discovery within the framework of a specialised article was published at the Phytotaxa, a JCR indexed magazine.

About Ferdowsi University of Mashhad: The first proposal for launching Ferdowsi University of Mashhad was announced concurrently with the establishment of Tehran University in 1934. However the first step was the opening of the higher Institute of Public Health rather than Medical School in 1949. Shortly after the institute had admitted its first medical students, in December 1949 this institute was officially inaugurated as the first Centre for Medical Science in North-East Iran, by the Minister of culture, the late Dr. Zanganeh.

Finally in 1956 after the foundation of the faculties of literature and Theology, the complex was named 'Mashhad University' and in 1957. The rules and regulations for employment and education in this new university were conducted according to those of Tehran University. Since then other faculties were gradually added according to the local demands; the Faculty of Science, 1961, the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Agriculture, 1973, the Faculty of Engineering, 1975, the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, 1987, the Faculty of Veterinary, 1991, the Faculty of Mathematics, 1996, the Faculty of Architecture, the Faculty of Urbanism and Islamic Arts, and the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, 2001.

In 1975 after the separation of Medical Sciences from the university, 'Mashhad University' was renamed to 'Ferdowsi University of Mashhad'. Ferdowsi University of Mashhad has now nearly seven decades of brilliant educational, research and cultural history and is well known among higher education institutes in Iran. It is currently one of the nation’s top three universities and also the largest center of higher education in North-East of Iran.

At present, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad is composed of 12 faculties, 38 research centres, seven centres of excellence, 820 faculty members, 50% of whom are professors or associate professors, over 20000 students, 9996 undergraduate, 6143 Masters and 3905 Ph.D. students, and 1050 Ferdowsi staffs.

Currently, 1279 foreign students are enrolled in different academic courses at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. In addition, there are also 187 foreign students, who are passing their six-month training courses in language at the International Centre for Teaching Persian to Non-Persian Speakers. These students would begin their academic education when they pass this six-month course. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Early Climate Payback with Higher Emission Reductions



|| April 03: 2017: University of Exeter: England: United Kingdom News || ά. Climate scientists have shown that the early mitigation needed to limit eventual warming below potentially dangerous levels has a climate ‘payback’ much earlier than previously thought. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, investigates how quickly benefits of mitigation could be realised through any reduction in the occurrence of extreme seasonal temperatures over land.

The research team focused on model results from future scenarios of a rapidly-warming world: one without any action to reduce emissions; and one where emissions are reduced enough to keep long-term global warming below 02°C above pre-industrial times. The research team, led by the Met Office Hadley Centre, discovered that it takes less than 20 years in many regions for the risk of extreme seasonal temperatures, one-in-ten-year extreme heat events, to halve following the start of aggressive emissions reductions.

Lead scientist Andrew Ciavarella explains, “Our study has shown that efforts to reduce global temperature rise in the long term, through aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, can halve the risk of heat extremes within two decades. We show that the global exposure to climate risk is reduced markedly and rapidly with substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. It had been thought previously that most of the benefits of mitigation would have been hidden by natural climate variability until later in the century.”

Professor Peter Stott, a Fellow Author on the paper, is the Acting Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre and part of the Mathematics department at the University of Exeter. He said, “It is necessary to reduce greenhouse emissions rapidly to help avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change but it had been thought that most of the benefits of this early mitigation would be felt only much later in the century.

This new research shows that many people alive today could see substantial benefits if efforts to reduce emissions thanks to a greatly reduced risk of heat waves in as little as two decades.”

The paper, Early benefits of mitigation in risk of regional climate extremes, is published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday, April 03 2017.
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Scientists Find the Power of Fungus Aspergillus Tubingensis with an Appetite for Plastic in Rubbish Tip That Could Help Deal with the Plastic Crisis That is Blighting Humanity

The Biodegradation Process by Fungi. Image: KIB


|| April 02: 2017: Chinese Academy of Sciences News || ά. Nowadays, humans are producing ever greater amounts of plastic, much of which, ends up as garbage. What’s more, because plastic does not break down in the same way as other organic materials, it can persist in the environment over extremely long periods of time. Scientists from the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences have recently identified a fungus, which could help deal with our waste problem by using enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials.

Plastic is used in the manufacture of an astonishing variety of materials, from the phone or computer, on which you’re reading this article, to the car, bus or bike you use to get around and even in many clothes; plastics is ubiquitous in the modern world. However, the tremendous increase in the production and use of various human-made plastics has become a huge threat to the environment. Plastic waste can choke waterways and soils, release harmful chemicals and even poses a threat to animals, which can mistake plastic debris for food. Plastic polymers take many years to decompose, as due to their xenobiotic nature, meaning that they did not exist before their synthesis by humans.

Plastic is not easily broken down by the bacteria, fungi and small creatures, that feed on other waste matter. Even when they do somewhat degrade, tiny particles of plastic may persist in the environment, with unknown consequences for human and environmental health. However, the authors of a new study, titled, 'Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Aspergillus tubingensis', believe they may have found an unexpected solution to our growing plastic problem in the form of a humble soil fungus.

Attempts to deal with plastic waste through burying, recycling or incineration are variously unsustainable, costly and can result in toxic byproducts, which are hazardous to human health. The authors of the recent article, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, therefore, argue that we urgently need to find new, safer and more effective ways to degrade waste plastics.

“We knew that one way to do this would be to look to solutions, which already existed in nature but finding micro-organisms, which can do the job, isn’t easy.” In the end, the research team found their plastic-eating fungus, living in an appropriate venue, a rubbish tip in Islamabad, Pakistan. Watched by crows and vultures, the researchers took samples of soil and various pieces of rubbish in the hopes of finding an organism, which could feed on plastic waste in the same way that other fungi feed on dead plant or animal material.

Aspergillus tubingensis is a fungus, which ordinarily lives in the soil. In laboratory trials, the researchers found that it, also, grows on the surface of plastics. It secretes enzymes onto the surface of the plastic and these break the chemical bonds between the plastic molecules or polymers. Using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, the team found that the fungus, also, uses the physical strength of its mycelia, the network of root-like filaments grown by fungi, to help break apart the polymers. Plastics, which persist in the environment for years can be broken down by A. tubingensis in a matter of weeks.

The fungus’ performance is affected by a number of environmental factors, including pH, temperature and the type of culture medium used. According to Dr. Khan, “Our team’s next goal is to determine the ideal conditions for fungal growth and plastic degradation”.

This could pave the way for large-scale use of the fungus in, for example, waste treatment plants or for application in soils, already contaminated by plastic waste. The discovery of A. tubingensis’ appetite for plastic joins the growing field of ‘mycoremediation’, which investigates the use of fungi in removing or degrading waste products, including plastic, oil and heavy metals.

Mycologists estimate that only a small proportion of all fungi species have yet been described, which means that vast numbers of potentially useful species are still to be found. However, the destruction of habitats, such as natural forests means that many fungi species are likely being lost before they can be identified, let alone tested for possible uses.

If this continues, we may come to rely more and more on those species we can find in human-made environments and more scientists may find themselves doing fieldwork in rubbish tips rather than rainforests.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The
Earth

 

  The
Moon

 

The Lake Eden Eye

 

 

 

 

The Window of the Heavens Always Open and Calling: All We Have to Do Is: To Choose to Be Open, Listen and Respond

 

 

 

Imagine a Rose-Boat

Imagine a rose floating like a tiny little boat on this ocean of infinity
And raise your soul-sail on this wee-little boat and go seeking out
All along feed on nothing but the light that you gather only light
Fear shall never fathom you nor greed can tempt nor illusion divert
For Love you are by name by deeds you are love's working-map

 

 

Only in the transparent pool of knowledge, chiselled out by the sharp incision of wisdom, is seen the true face of what truth is: That what  beauty paints, that what music sings, that what love makes into a magic. And it is life: a momentary magnificence, a-bloom like a bubble's miniscule exposition, against the spread of this awe-inspiring composition of the the Universe. Only through the path of seeking, learning, asking and developing, only through the vehicles and vesicles of knowledge, only through listening to the endless springs flowing beneath, outside, around and beyond our reach, of wisdom, we find the infinite ocean of love which is boundless, eternal, and being infinite, it makes us, shapes us and frees us onto the miracle of infinite liberty: without border, limitation or end. There is nothing better, larger or deeper that humanity can ever be than to simply be and do love. The Humanion

 

Poets' Letter Magazine Archive Poetry Pearl

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The Humanion Online Daily from the United Kingdom for the World: To Inspire Souls to Seek

At Home in the Universe : One Without Frontier. Editor: Munayem Mayenin

All copyrights @ The Humanion: London: England: United Kingdom: Contact Address: editor at thehumanion dot com

First Published: September 24: 2015