Climate Change

hogs
NC Dept of Agriculture

Farmers gamble millions—sometimes tens of millions —of dollars on the weather every year. When they place their bets on crops and animals, they look at the science, they listen to experts, and sometimes they think about stories their mama used to tell them.

heat index
Climate Central

It’s the south, and it’s August. That means it’s hot. But if you’ve lived here a while and you think it’s worse than usual, you’re right.

This decade (2010-2014) has already had as many 95+ degree days as the Triangle experienced during the entire 1980s. That’s according to an analysis from meteorologist Lee Ringer at News 14 Carolina:  

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A new paper focused on sea-level rise along the North Carolina coast largely backs up the findings outlined in the most recent draft report from the Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel, with one significant difference.

Image of a sweat bee on button snakeroot
Barbara Driscoll

Bees are vital to the American food system. Honey bees alone contribute more than $15 billion to the American economy through pollination of plants that produce fruits, nuts and vegetables.

An image of the sun
Dominik Hundhammer / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:India_Goa_Fort_Chapora_Chapora_River.jpg

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for 17 counties in the eastern and southeastern part of the state today. The heat index could reach 105 degrees in the Sand Hills by early this evening.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services warns that these high temperatures put people—especially the elderly, the very young, and those on specific medications—at risk for heat stroke.

A picture of Jay Faison.
SnapAV

A conservative tech entrepreneur has created a foundation dedicated to finding clean-energy solutions to the climate crisis.

Jay Faison has several defining characteristics. He is a Republican, a member of a wealthy Charlotte family, and a supporter of GOP campaigns in North Carolina and nationally. Faison founded the ClearPath Foundation in December, and recently announced that he is giving $175 million to a campaign to get Republicans talking about market-based solutions to climate change. 

The Durham police department.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice has confirmed racial discrepancies when it comes to gun-related violence in Durham. 

 The report released yesterday shows that from 2009 to 2012, the homicide rate for young black men in Durham was eight times higher than the national average.

Gasoline prices at the Carrboro Food Mart gas station in April 2013
Laura Candler

Gasoline and natural gas have hit record-low prices in the last few months. It was hailed as overwhelmingly good news for consumers and the economy.

But the price you pay at the pump may not be the real cost.

“So the real cost of that gallon of gas is the price you pay at the pump plus about four dollars,” says Drew Shindell, a professor of climate change at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Shindell wrote a paper that calculates the “social cost” of energy, or the total cost to society.

A picture of a cerulean warbler bird.
Mdf / Wikipedia

A new Audubon Society study says most North American winter birds are migrating farther north than they did in the 1960s.

Curtis Smalling is the North Carolina Mountain Office’s director of land bird conservation. He says population changes will sweep across North Carolina.

National Audubon Society, Meryl Lorenzo

  

Climate change will likely alter the migratory routes and habitats of more than half of the birds in North America, according to new study published by the National Audubon Society.

A busy Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill.
Town of Chapel Hill

Forestry experts and urban designers are gathering in Raleigh this week to discuss the effects of climate change on the urban landscape. The North Carolina Urban Forestry Conference is centered on how to design city spaces to cope with and help prevent rising temperatures.

It's not just about finding more places for shade trees (though that's something forestry types would certainly applaud). Scientists are also considering how to combat an increase in pests that prey on trees not suited for greater temperatures.

A Dare County sheriff's deputy walks down damaged Route 12 after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
Steve Earley / Virginian-Pilot/AP

A new report from NationalGeographic.com begins this way: "Development and climate change are causing the islands to slowly vanish, scientists say."

Air Force airmen lay sandbags to protect against a flooding disaster in MO in 2011.
Dept. of Defense

Climate change and the way we use energy are threats to national security, according to group of U.S. military generals at the nonprofit CNA Corporation.

Their research shows stronger storms will likely divert more troops to humanitarian missions and American dependence on fossil fuels forces convoys to routinely transport fuel through dangerous areas.

Host Frank Stasio talks with retired Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer, a member of the Military Advisory Board at CNA Corporation.

A vacation home on the Outer Banks after super-storm Sandy.
Don McCullough, via Flickr, Creative Commons

The group that implements rules along the North Carolina coast has decided to shrink the scope of a study on sea level rise.

The Coastal Resources Commission had been considering a  study of the effects of sea level rise over the next 100 years. At their meeting Thursday they decided to limit that study to just 30 years, along with  updates every five years.

The commission thought the study would have more weight if it were more limited.

A dry field of crops
http://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/12309025826/

Earlier this month, Raleigh was selected to host one of seven climate change research hubs in the nation. The hubs will prepare farmers to cope with  the effects of climate change on their land. 

NC State University
NC State University

It's been a big year for NC State - and it's only February.

Western Carolina University

Scientist Robert Young says that even the most conservative estimates show rising sea levels have a strong effect on the beaches of North Carolina. 

Justin Catanoso

Melting ice caps at the poles are not the only concern when thinking about global warming. Increasingly, scientists are realizing that the impact of rising temperatures on tropical forests is just as dramatic.

On a rain forest mountain top where I had just seen woolly monkeys swinging through the trees, I asked Wake Forest biologist Miles Silman if we were simply putting too much greenhouse gas in the air to slow or halt the inevitable march of climate change.

The Neuse River bike and pedestrian trail in Raleigh, forest, trees.
City of Raleigh

Researchers at Duke University have found evidence that climate change is shortening the life cycles of trees in the U.S.

Research in tropical areas like Peru has suggested that trees are migrating to cooler areas by producing offspring in higher elevations or latitudes, but the latest study says most plants in the U.S. might not be able to move quickly enough to keep up with rising temperatures. 

A seal pup on thin ice.
International Fund for Animal Welfare

A new study from Duke has found that as sea ice cover declines off the coast of eastern Canada, harp seal pups are suffering from a higher rate of strandings than their parents. It’s the first study of seal stranding rates that takes into account genetics, as well as environmental and demographic factors like age and gender.  Duke research scientist David Johnston says that genetic fitness does not affect the rate of stranding.

Air Force airmen lay sandbags to protect against a flooding disaster in MO in 2011.
Dept. of Defense

Current and former members of the military want to talk about how climate change could be threatening national security. 

A public meeting in Fayetteville tonight will include discussions about evidence linking climate change to a rising risk of stronger natural disasters.  Spring Lake mayor Chris Rey is one of the speakers at the meeting and a former Army captain.  He says storms that cause widespread damage divert military resources, leaving the impacted areas more vulnerable.

Leaves on trees in a forest.
Laura Candler

A new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has revealed exactly how trees play a role in smog production. The question has been a source of scientific uncertainty for years, and the findings are a milestone in air pollution research, with potentially significant implications for public health.

Climate change often sparks concerns over rising sea levels and melting ice caps. But its impact on agriculture could be just as devastating. A new report from the US Department of Agriculture highlights the potential problems and how farmers will have to adapt.

Eaarth

Nov 15, 2012

shrinking polar ice caps, rising temperatures, vanishing forests, acidic oceans and superstorms. Welcome to the new planet earth. A renowned environmental writer came up with this new spelling of Earth - Eaarth - because the planet we live on no longer resembles the planet we used to live on. The new planet has a new name.

UNC Working to Save Native Species in Galapagos

Jul 25, 2012
Galapagos
The UNC Center for Galapagos Studies

The Galapagos is a chain of 13 large islands about six hundred miles from the coast of Ecuador. It was there, in 1835, that the British scientist Charles Darwin began thinking about how animals change over time. Since then, scientists have called the Galapagos a living laboratory,  a place to study evolution and natural selection. Now, with 180,000 tourists visiting each year, experts say the living lab is in danger, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill scientists are stepping up to help.

Who Owns the Arctic?

Mar 27, 2012

The question of who owns the Arctic is under consideration at a conference hosted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this week. The issue of Arctic sovereignty has arisen largely in response to climate change.

It's the first day of Spring but it may feel like winter never really settled in. State Climatologist Ryan Boyles says it was the 8th-warmest winter on record in North Carolina and the 6th-driest. He says that's had some up-sides.

Ryan Boyles: Recreation has been much higher this year; people have been able to really get out and enjoy the outdoors this past winter because we've had such mild temperatures. Snow removal costs have been very small this past winter, especially compared to the previous two winters. But there are some negative impacts as well.

There's more evidence that climate change is altering bird migration patterns. A new study from UNC-Chapel Hill finds some species along the east coast are migrating three-to-six days earlier than they were just ten years ago. Allen Hurlbert is an assistant professor of biology at UNC. He says birds face problems if they get the timing wrong.

The US Department of Agriculture says winters aren't as cold as they used to be in North Carolina. It has released its first new map of planting zones in more than 20 years. Tony Avent is the owner of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh. He was a technical advisor on the map. He says its detailed, interactive features surpass anything previously available.

Stewart Cook/International Fund for Animal Welfare

Warmer temperatures in the North Atlantic over the last several decades have resulted in significantly higher mortality rates of baby harp seals. A new study out of Duke looked at satellite data of ice conditions in the Gulf of St Lawrence, a major breeding region and compared them to yearly reports of dead seal pups that washed up on shore. Lead researcher David Johnston is a scientist at the Duke University Marine Lab:


David Johnston:  These animals have evolved to take advantage of the advan tages of ephemeral surfaces like ice.

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