USA – May 24th, 2013
Water-level change is integral to the structure and function of Great Lakes coastal wetlands, and many studies document predictable relationships between vegetation and water level. However, anthropogenic stressors, such as invasive species, land-use change, and water-level stabilization, interact to shift the historical cycle toward dominance by invasive species.
Scientists have determined that habitat dominated by Typha species has expanded to eliminate wet meadow habitat. In 2000, meadow area was below that predicted by the historical pattern due to the landward advance of marsh habitat during a year of decreasing water levels. In the same period, land use in the wetland watersheds converted from agriculture to urban. Studying vegetation shifts is an essential step in the process of preserving and restoring ecological integrity (click here for more information).
Black Sea – May 23rd, 2013
A phytoplankton bloom can be observed in the Black Sea, coloring its usually dark blue waters a paisley pattern of lighter blue. Putting together the biomass of all the phytoplankton in Black Sea in a usual day of August gives an astronomic number of about six million tons. This photosynthesizing mass (called standing crop) is growing (primary production), and, at the same time, disappearing due to grazing by zooplankton.
Sweden, Norway, Finland – May 23rd, 2013
The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment hass determined that climate change in the world’s Arctic areas is proceeding at a rate that is nearly double the rate of change at a global scale, affecting countries such as Sweden, Norway and Finland. Climate change will increase sea surface temperatures and reduce the extent and thickness of sea ice in Arctic regions. These changes are expected to affect the movement, growth, habitat and reproduction of key commercial fish species. The agricultural sector is also at risk (click here for more information).
Democratic Republic of the Congo – May 23rd, 2013
Hundreds of fires burning across the Democratic Republic of the Congo release plumes of smoke that blow towards the northwest. Most of the fires are burning in grass or cropland. The location, widespread nature, and shear number of fires suggest that they were deliberately set for land management by farmers desiring to return nutrients to the soil and clear away unwanted plants.
USA – May 22nd, 2013
This image focuses on the San Francisco Bay region of the US state of California. Climate model simulations used to investigate possible changes in regional climate over California have predicted that by the end of the twenty-first century, temperatures in the state will increase by 2°C to 6°C (about 3.5 °F to 11°F). While there is greater warming in summer than in winter, all simulations indicate that hot daytime and nighttime temperatures (heat waves) will increase in frequency, magnitude, and duration.
Projected precipitation is marked by considerable variability: in the southern half of California, the models show a decline in annual precipitation. Sea level rise predictions range from 77 cm to 140 cm (30 to 55 in) over historical levels by 2100. The rise of mean sea level would provoke an increase in extreme events, as gaged by exceedances above a relatively high or rare historical threshold. Such events are becoming much more frequent and have longer durations than has been seen historically (click here for more information).