Climate Change Threatening Humans Through Toxic Algae Spread

Global warming is making the oceans more toxic due to spread of toxic algae. Climate change causes a series of problems for the oceans such as heating up, acidification, and the loss of oxygen.

A team of scientists investigated this by using ocean temperature data along with the growth response of two different algae, Alexandrium and Dinophysis.. These algae are the two most toxic algae in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. The study indicates that since 1982 the North Atlantic and North Pacific ocean basins have warmed and thus become hospitable to algae and algal blooms. These two algae can cause extreme health concerns that can cause paralytic and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning in humans. They could even kill people who consume contaminated shellfish. Also they can  damage several marine ecosystems by killing fish and other marine life

http://www.stonybrook.edu/happenings/research/global-warming-making-oceans-more-toxic-research-shows/?spotlight=2

 

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Melting Snow Contains a Toxic Cocktail of Pollutants

With the temperature getting warmer due to spring, all the snow will slowly melt. However, wexhaust-pipe.jpgater is not the only thing the melted snow will release. The snow contains a toxic cocktail from car emissions. These pollutants are then released int o the atmosphere after the snow melts.

Snow absorbs certain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are organic pollutants known to be toxic and carcinogenic. These pollutants add to premature deaths caused by mild air pollution. Worldwide, air pollution kills as many as 8 million lives. The snow is on the ground for so long that the car emissions pollute it, and then it releases straight into the environment. Understanding how these pollutants interact with the environment, including snow, is import to reduce the hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in North America.

 

http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/melting-snow-contains-toxic-cocktail-pollutants-267489

Melting Sea Ice May Lead to More Life in the Sea

mediumAs global warming increases, more snow and sea ice is melting. This increasing amount of sea ice that is melting in the Arctic can lead to an increased production of algae, which means more food for the organisms in the ocean. This melting ice leads to larger melt ponds. In these melt ponds, algae and bacteria can form, leading to more food for sea creatures.

These melt ponds are basically their own ecosystem. The algae is released into all the surrounding seawater. Some food is immediately eaten by animals high up in the water column and the rest sinks down to the bottom where it gets eaten by seabed dwellers. So even though global warming is increasing and the ice caps are melting, it does have some positive affects on the organisms.

 

http://www.sdu.dk/en/om_sdu/fakulteterne/naturvidenskab/aktuelt/2017_03_23_meltponds

 

Could Rudolph and Friends Help to Slow Down our Warming Climate?

A new research found that reindeers may play a part in slowing down climate change. They do this by reducing the height and abundance of shrubs on the Arctic tundra through grazing, eating the shrubs. The reduction in shrub height, abundance and leaf area increases the level of surface albedo, which is the amount of solar energy reflected by the Earth back into space.

The researchers used an experimental set-up of four separated areas experiencing either light or heavy grazing by reindeer. They  combined land surface computer modelling with measurements of albedo and vegetation characteristics that were taken in the field. To measure the reindeer activity they used vegetation trampling indicators and by collecting dung. They measured the abundance of vegetation, its leaf area index, the soil moisture and temperature levels, and then the albedo levels. The results were that in the areas with high densities of reindeer activity, there was less shrub abundance, in fact changing the arctic tundra vegetation. So, these reindeers grazing can slow down warming climates.

This effect is large enough that it can be regionally important.Now, herbivore management may be a a possible tool to combat future warming because most of the arctic tundra is grazed by either domesticated or wild reindeer. The impact the reindeer have varies according to their densities and effects on the vegetation levels across the whole tundra, so not all of them could be as effective.

http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/50234

 

California’s Six Year Drought Causing Death in Trees

 

Due to California’s six year drought, there has been a total of 102 million dead trees across 7.7 million acres of forest, a very high number of deaths. This lack of rain has lead to a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures. The U.S Forest Service announced that a total of 62 million trees died just in the year of 2016. This was an increase of more than 100% deaths from 2015. A member of the U.S Forest Service said that the trees are dying a rate much quicker than what they expected due to the drought.

Most of these dead trees are located  in the southern and central Sierra Nevada region in  10 counties. Driving in that area and looking into the hillside is a pretty scary and surprising sight to look at considering that they are mostly dead trees. The U.S Forest Service also predicts that even more trees will die in the coming months and years due to not only drought but along with it, root diseases, bark beetle activity, or other stress agents. The tree deaths are on a rise mostly in the northern regions.

There have even been concerns that now these dead trees can spark much more destructive wildfires in the state of California. Although these trees elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires, and pose threats to life and property across California, they also have some pros such as providing great habitat for wildlife, such as birds and mammals that make their homes in openings carved within snags, and while wood-boring insects that feed on those snags. This basically makes the foundation of the food chain for a larger web of forest life.

http://www.care2.com/causes/102-million-trees-have-died-in-californias-drought.html

Airlines to Test Alternative Fuel

Air travel is onmediume of the largest contributors to environmental pollution of greenhouse gases.The normal jet fuel used for airplanes contains nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide. These three are a combination of various pollutants which creates the greenhouse effect that harms our atmosphere.

The airline industry knows that it is a huge contributing factor to pollution, especially with climate change. It is working towards way to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. One way to do this is by using alternative fuels such as biofuels made from vegetable oil, corn, and even household garbages. They are investigating in which ways to do this and have already started working on it. However, manufacturers have not been able to produce the necessary quantities for widespread use.

Airlines like Virgin and JetBlue are one of the first airlines to already begin using eco-friendly fuels, but there is a limit to how much of this fuel they can get. For example JetBlue put in an order of 330 million gallons of renewable fuel, however only 100 million gallons are produced annually. So the need of fuel in the aviation industry numbers in billions of gallons, which the renewable fuel is not able to do.

http://www.enn.com/business/article/50052

 

New Delhi Air Pollution Reaches Highest Level In 20 Years

Last Week, New Delhi’s air pollution reached as high as 30 times above the World Health Organization Guidelines. This has been the highest level in 20 years. The Indian officials declared an emergency and The Chief minister told people to stay home and not go to work. A a result of this, the Indian business groups said 5 to 10 percent of the workforce in the city called in sick over the past week.new-delhi

India has one of the highest populations in the World, and that contributes to the air population. The reason for such a high air population at this time was because there was field burning on nearby farmland and fireworks from a recent Diwali festival. This worsened the smog conditions. To reduce the air population, construction sites have been closed, operations at a coal-fired power station have been stopped, and diesel generators were stopped. The city officials are working towards creating traffic restrictions, in order to to reduce the amount of smog in the atmosphere for the future.

http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/50116