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Researchers Predict 'Anomalously Warm' 2018-2022
The summer of 2018 has been marked by record-breaking heat across the globe. But if you're already sweating now, you might want to prepare yourself for the next four years as well, according to new global forecasting research.
The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, predicts that the years between 2018-2022 will likely be "anomalously warm," and reinforces long-term climate change trends.
"The coming warm period is associated with an increased likelihood of intense to extreme temperatures," researchers Florian Sévellec of the Laboratory of Ocean Physics and Remote Sensing at University Brest in France, and Sybren Drijfhout at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute in De Bilt, in the Netherlands wrote in their paper.
The authors clarified that their research only predicts warmer temperatures on a broad global scale, meaning individual regions might not necessarily experience more heat waves.
"We are not predicting another heat wave—a warmer year doesn't always mean (that)," lead author Sévellec told DW. But "overall, it's more likely to be warm than cold."
For the study, the researchers used a new statistical approach called Probabilistic forecast, or Procast, to "rationalize the chaotic behavior" of Earth's climate. As the Evening Standard explained: "It involves gathering information from previous changes in a system's state to calculate the probabilistic chances of transitions to future new states. A retrospective test of the method accurately predicted the global warming pause, or 'hiatus,' between 1998 and 2013."
The researchers concluded that between 2018 and 2022, there's a 58 percent chance that the earth's surface temperature will be exceptionally warm, and a 69 percent chance that the oceans will be anomalously warm in that same period.
What's more, the researchers said there could also be a "dramatic increase [in likelihood] of up to 400 percent" that Earth's oceans will experience "extreme warm events" during 2018 to 2022.
Gabi Hegerl, professor of climate system science at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the study, told BBC News that the researchers "skilfully used worldwide climate model data for previous years to calculate probabilities for the next few years."
However, Gavin Schmidt, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, commented to The Washington Post that the size of their predicted warming effect is not very large.
"Let's be clear, being 58 percent confident that 2018 will be 0.02ºC above the forced trend ... is not practically significant (even if it might be skillful)," Schmidt wrote in an email.
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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.
By Karin Kirk
Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.
During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market. Cirou Frederic / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market, according to new research from the advocacy organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), which bills itself as an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first three years of development.
By Kerstin Palme
Creepy-crawlies are among the oldest life forms on this planet. Before dinosaurs ever walked the earth, insects were certainly already there. Some estimates date their origins to 400 million years ago. They're also extremely successful. Of the 7 to 8 million species documented on Earth, around three quarters are likely bugs.
But several insect species could disappear for good in the next few decades and that would have serious consequences for humans.
Volvo introduced its first-ever all-electric vehicle this week, kicking off an ambitious plan to slash emissions and phase out solely gas-powered vehicles starting this year.
The report, released Wednesday, found that almost every European who lives in a city is exposed to unhealthy air, Reuters reported.