Climate change is already happening: Widespread physical changes include rapid warming of the southeast and increasing flow of the East Australia Current. Increasing biological impacts include reduced calcification in Southern Ocean plankton and Great Barrier Reef corals from both warming and acidification.
There is now striking evidence of extensive southward movements of tropical fish and plankton species in southeast Australia, declines in abundance of temperate species, and the first signs of the effect of ocean acidification on marine species with shells.
As the climate shifts, the impacts on any given nation will vary. Some few will see positive changes. Many will be disrupted. That disruption was apparent in the Sudan during the last decade. And now it's being suggested that climate change also played a role in Syria.
Two decades ago, the rains in southern Sudan began to fail. According to U.N. statistics, average precipitation has declined some 40 percent since the early 1980s. Scientists at first considered this to be an unfortunate quirk of nature. But subsequent investigation found that it coincided with a rise in temperatures of the Indian Ocean, disrupting seasonal monsoons. This suggests that the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming.
It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought. Until then, Arab nomadic herders had lived amicably with settled farmers. A recent Atlantic Monthly article by Stephan Faris describes how black farmers would welcome herders as they crisscrossed the land, grazing their camels and sharing wells. But once the rains stopped, farmers fenced their land for fear it would be ruined by the passing herds. For the first time in memory, there was no longer enough food and water for all. Fighting broke out. By 2003, it evolved into the full-fledged tragedy we witness today.
A U.N. report backed that claim, noting a drop in rainfall of 16 to 30 percent, a rise in temperature of about one degree Celsius, and an expected drop in crop yield of as much as 70 percent.
Rep. Paul Ryan told a Cincinnati television station in an interview airing on Thursday that he “never asked for stimulus” money made available by the Recovery Act, contradicting documents that show he advocated for Wisconsin companies that were seeking funds.
“I opposed the stimulus because it doesn’t work, it didn’t work. It brought us deeper into debt. It was about $1.1 trillion when you add the borrowing cost, it put us deeper in debt and further out of work,” Ryan told WCPO in an interview. …
Ryan similarly denied requesting stimulus money in a 2010 interview with WBZ’s Nightside with Dan Rea, The Boston Globe reported.
As we noted then, West Nile is now present in each of the lower 48 states. As the Guardian notes, 43 states have so far this year reported people, birds, or mosquitoes infected with the virus. But no place is as affected as Dallas.
"Right now, Texas has half the West Nile cases in the nation," Dr David Lakey, the Texas state health commissioner, told local reporters this week. "Dallas County has half of the cases in the state of Texas. So, about a quarter of all the cases in the United States are in this county. So, this isn't business as usual."
According to Texas department of state health services figures, 381 West Nile cases have been confirmed in Texas this year, including 16 related deaths – on track for the most cases since the disease first reached the state a decade ago.
The state's solution is simple, but controversial. Tomorrow night, twin-engine planes will fly over the county, releasing a pesticide called Duet.
OK, so this drought. I made a joke a while ago about how Gristmill could just turn into the all-drought headquarters ha ha ha because the drought was so bad. That was a month ago. Since then, the drought has gotten worse. It's so bad now that the official law office of America should be Drought, Drought & Bobbitt -- which is a real firm in San Antonio. San Antonio's Bexar County, like every other county in Texas, is a disaster area due to drought. (Drought, Drought & Bobbitt is doing its part by representing oil companies.)
The red bits are the counties that have been declared disaster areas. It's kind of like that game Pandemic, where everyone sees the plague creeping up on them. "Madagascar County has closed its borders." That sort of thing. Seventeen states have been designated as disaster areas in their entirety, with Illinois and Iowa just succumbing this week. South Carolina is near full contagion; Minnesota is looking south with a tangible sense of concern.
Because the situation is so remorselessly and unrelentingly dire and because there is so much of it, we figured we'd create our own drought-assessment index, which ranks a slew of news stories on several key metrics.
The intensity of this year's drought continued to worsen as well. The percentage of the country in "severe" to "extreme" drought increased from 32.7% in June to 37.6% in July.
In these more serious categories, the 2012 drought grew from the 10th-largest on record in June to the sixth-largest in July, but still trails the 2002 drought in terms of the area covered in severe to extreme drought.
Maps and charts: 4 Images of farmers or crops: 0 Cause for concern (10 being highest): 6
There is no reason that I should prepare an introduction to the Ocean Health Index when Harrison Ford is perfectly capable of doing so. Watching this video will make you feel like you’re a sixth-grader on a field trip to an aquarium.
So what does that mean? The OHI assesses how the ocean areas off countries' coastlines are faring according to 10 goals: water cleanliness, biodiversity, food provision, artisanal fishing opportunities, natural products, carbon storage, coastal protection, coastal livelihoods, tourism, and sense of place. To compute the scores for each goal, several dozen components -- things like coral reef health, fisheries management, marine jobs, acidification -- were evaluated by researchers from the University of Santa Barbara and the University of British Columbia. Each country is scored on each goal on a 0-to-100 scale.
Trees were knocked down on Debora Hense's property in Livingston County, but crews installing a new pipeline for Enbridge have moved off her land for now.
Hense said the workers left after she called 911 Wednesday morning and Livingston County sheriff's deputies arrived. She said as many as 50 trees were being cleared when she returned home from a brief trip -- even though negotiations with the pipeline company had stalled over using additional space on her land in Tyrone Township, southwest of Fenton, and expanding the permanent easement.
Jeez, hippie! Enbridge tried to negotiate with you to buy your land, but you wouldn't let them. What are they supposed to do, resolve every single problem before they start tearing down trees on private property? Get with the program!
And besides, they totally made it up to you!
Hense said the company sent her attorney a check for $810 after she and her husband failed to act on what the company called its final offer -- $18,000. She said the first offer was for $40,000. …