climate change

Secretary Tillerson Signs the Scientific Cooperation Agreement at the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, AK.
U.S. Air Force / Public Domain

The Arctic Council held their tenth annual ministerial meeting last week and adopted a science cooperation agreement that puts climate change front and center. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed that agreement, but also told council members that the U.S. will not rush and will “work to make the right decision for the United States” when it comes to climate policies.

Japanese barberry is an invasive that will likely benefit from climate change.
Wikicommons

Surveys consistently show that a majority of Americans think climate change is happening, but that it won’t affect them. Scientists say otherwise. Researchers already are seeing impacts - often dramatic, sometimes counterintuitive - on both natural systems and human communities. And, while everyone will be affected, some will be hit sooner and harder.

Crocuses sprang up with February's warmth, but got frozen in March.
Elsa Partan

For the start of spring, we thought we’d look back at the wacky weather we’ve been having over the past two months. Like the 71-degree Fahrenheit day in Boston on February 24, which set the record for the warmest day for that city for the month of February. Or the February 27th tornado in Western Massachusetts. Or the radical swing to arctic temperatures in March.

John Holdren, science advisor and director of OSTP under President Obama.
Elsa Partan / WCAI

President Donald Trump has yet to name a science advisor, a position that dates back to the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. It wouldn't be the first time that a president has decided he's better off without one. 

President Nixon wasn’t happy with the advice he was getting from his Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  He fired his science advisor and he dissolved the office of science and technology. But in 1976, Congress decided the executive branch really needed such an office and so it restored it by law.

Corals Could Help Predict the Asian Monsoon

Jan 23, 2017
Luis Lamar, WHOI

The South Asian monsoon provides the drinking water for 1.5 billion people each year. It brings more than two-thirds of India's rainfall and accounts for more than half of the water that Indian farmers use to grow crops.

Wiki Commons

Over the past several years, climate change has gained a reputation as a liberal agenda item. It wasn't always that way; it was President George H. W. Bush who brought the U.S. into international climate negotiations in 1992. Today, many GOP legislators reject the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. But that science is clear – human activities are disrupting the global climate system, and that poses risks to people and institutions of all political persuasions.

By United States National Institute of Health: Heart, Llung and Blood Institute [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A new study this week finds that a regional carbon cap and trade system has saved hundreds of lives and billions of dollars for New Englanders. Officials from the nine participating states are currently working out the future of the program.

Leading diplomats celebrated the signing of the Paris Agreement last December. This year's negotiations begin today in Marakech, Morocco.
U.S. Department of State

Today is the first day of COP22, the twenty second annual meeting of international climate change negotiators. This year’s conference is like none of the previous ones, because – this time – there’s an international climate agreement in effect. The Paris Agreement entered into force last Friday, November 4th.

How to Clone a Mammoth (Or Should We?)

Oct 10, 2016
Wikicommons

Many scientists think we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction, and it’s out fault.

The idea of bringing back extinct animals has gotten more attention in recent years as labs around the world get better at sequencing their genes. Could we once again have herds of woolly mammoths grazing the tundra of the north?

Wiki Commons

Tiny, thin-shelled oysters; crumbling coral reefs; fish unable to make sense of odors; decimated plankton populations. Those are some of the nightmare scenarios conjured by the prospect of a rapidly acidifying ocean caused by unchecked carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning.

Jamey Stillings and Esha Chiocchio

Climate change is heavy enough for adults to contemplate, but as a topic for children, it can be downright scary. Not to mention that the science is pretty complicated. How do we teach children what they need to know without terrifying them -- and in a way they can understand?

George Joch / Courtesy Argonne National Laboratory

The Space Race inspired a generation of students interested in science. Today, the issues facing aspiring scientists are no less momentous. For one, there's NASA's efforts to put people on Mars. But, closer to home, science issues touch each of us, every day – from climate change, to genetically modified organisms, and cutting edge medical treatments. And, of course, most of us have access to the world's collective knowledge via tiny, powerful computers we carry around in our pockets.

A recently rescued Kemp's ridley sea turtle floating in a recovery tank in the New England Aquarium's Quincy facility.
New England Aquarium

Each summer, young Kemp's ridley sea turtles follow the Gulf Stream north from the tropics to feed. Each fall, some number of those are caught off-guard by falling water temperatures and may wash ashore, dehydrated and paralyzed by cold. It's a story as old as Cape Cod, but it's been changing in recent years.

NASA

It was a year of big scientific achievements, with New Horizon's flyby of Pluto and the discovery of what may be a new species of early human topping the list. The historic climate agreement reached in Paris might be called a victory for science, though many consider it a victory of diplomacy. 

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Despite super computers and complex algorithms, climate change modeling is far from perfect. What’s needed is more data, and climate scientists are looking for it in some unusual places.

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