The big news in climate is that 2014 is the hottest year on record – but the bigger picture is even more disheartening: global warming trends have remained constant since 1998, and ocean warming is going off the charts.
California’s large trees or those larger than two feet in diameter have declined in numbers to half that recorded in a 1930 census, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The leading cause of the demise is thought to be rising surface temperatures which but high stress on large trees, along with water shortages.
Using satellite imagery, scientists have discovered two new subglacial lakes under Greenland’s ice sheet bringing the total number to four. The discovery is not well met, however. These lakes are already drained, signaling that climate change is making its way beneath the Greenland ice sheet. The discovery suggests subglacial lakes could increase the sensitivity of ice to climatic change, further accelerating ice melt which can lead to catastrophic floods.
It’s hilarious and sad at the same time: the US Senate had to vote whether or not climate change is real, and not a hoax. Thankfully, the vast majority of the Senators agreed with science, and by 98 to 1, they voted that climate change is indeed real.
The great apes are suffering greatly from Ebola too – gorillas and chimps are facing the greatest threat ever, after Ebola has wiped out a third of the populations since the 1990s.
After a continuous decline in numbers, tigers are finally getting some good news. Indian authorities have announced that the number of tigers has increased by 50% in 7 years, from 1,400 to 2,226.
Chimps, our favorite primate cousins, communicate with each other through a complex gesture language, partially decoded by scientists. Depending on the situation and the gesture, chimps tell each other things like “Stop that,” “Climb on me,” or “Move away.” Now, an exciting new study found that chimps also communicate through vocalization. Researchers found that the primates would “speak” to their peers and relay what their favorite fruits are and where the best trees can be found.
Pope Francis, well on his way on becoming the most popular and moderate pope in recent history, is preparing to publish an encyclical on ecology and climate change, urging the world to stop turning their backs on nature. The document is expected to be released in time to be read before the next round of U.N. climate treaty talks in Paris at the end of the year. Of course, Pope Francis’ rather frequent commentaries concerning climate change, toppled by his much anticipated encyclical, has angered climate change skeptics. Critics have been quick to voice that the pope is using religion to front a radical environmental agenda.
A federal judge decided this week that British Petroleum will pay a maximum of $13.7 billion for its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, saying that the oil spill was not as extensive as United States officials claimed. The sum is several billions lower than all parties involved were expecting – except for BP, of course.
A pipeline breach spewed more than 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone river, according to Montana officials who claim that they’re not aware of any threats to public safety as a result of the spill. According to the Bridger Pipeline Company, the spill occurred about 10am on Saturday near Glendive, Montana, estimates placing the amount of oil leaked between 300 to 1,200 barrels.