moths go forth and…

Ecologist Florian Altermatt of the University of California, Davis has studied 44 species of moths and butterflies in Central Europe.

He published the results December 22 in the science journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B article, “Climatic warming increases voltinism in European butterflies and moths” (which is available online for free for a few more days).

“Voltinism” refers to the number of breeding cycles in a year. As the region has warmed since the 1980s, some of these species have added an extra generation during the summer for the first time on record in that location.

Among the 263 species already known to have a second or third generation there during toasty times, 190 have grown more likely to do so since 1980. ThinkProgress, 26 Dec 2009

vote the rascals out!

Climate change is the most important social welfare issue we face as social workers. Unless we bring our best thinking and organizing to bear on climate change, our work on all the other issues near and dear to our hearts runs the risk of being comparable to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

But individual actions are not enough. We need to be social worker activists, advocating to change public policies that will have major impact on the future we pass on to the next generation.

We can challenge elected officials at every level to support efforts to reduce the output of “greenhouse gases,” and we can vote the rascals out if they persist in wrong-headed decisions.

The New Social Worker, 20 Jan 2007

live longer with climate change!

Actually, with respect to any temperature rise due to global warming, the research team found “For both men and women mortality was higher at low temperatures, suggesting a lesser ability to adapt to the cold.”

Based on another related study, they state “In England and Wales, the higher temperatures predicted for 2050 might result in nearly 9,000 fewer winter deaths each year.”

Laaidi et al. conclude “our findings give grounds for confidence in the near future: the relatively moderate (2°C) warming predicted to occur in the next half century would not increase annual mortality rates.”

worldclimatereport, 14/3/07

surf’s up!

A team of geophysicists from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, have determined that gigantic ocean waves have been speeding up due to global warming.

These large ocean waves, known as planetary waves, typically span hundreds of kilometers from crest to crest.

Having predicted that planetary waves would accelerate as a result of the ocean surface warming, John Fyfe and Oleg Saenko, writing in the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters, modeled the changes to ocean wave patterns over the 20th and 21st centuries to test their hypothesis.

“We knew we’d see an effect, but we didn’t think it would be significant for at least another two centuries,” Fyfe said. TreeHugger, 13 Jun 2007

La Nina to double!

Extreme weather arising from a climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean will get much worse as the world warms, according to climate modelling.

The latest data – based on detailed climate modelling work – suggests extreme La Nina events in the Pacific Ocean will almost double with global warming, from one in 23 years to one in 13 years. Most will follow extreme El Nino events, meaning frequent swings between opposite extremes from one year to the next.

Prof Mat Collins, Joint Met Office Chair in Climate Change at Exeter University, UK, is a co-researcher on the study, which involved teams in Australia, China, the US, UK and Peru. He said scientists were getting a better idea of how El Nino and La Nina are affected by global warming.

“Our previous research showed a doubling in frequency of extreme El Nino events, and this new study shows a similar fate for the cold phase of the cycle,” he said. “It shows again how we are just beginning to understand the consequences of global warming.”

BBC News, 26 Jan 2015

you take the high road …

The University of Durham looked at levels of land uplift and subsidence in the British isles since the Ice Age.

As the ice retreated 20,000 years ago the release of the enormous weight meant the north slowly tilted up while the south sank down. Scotland is still experiencing this “springboard” effect while southern Ireland, Wales and England continues to sink.

Prof Ian Shennan, who led the study, said soil sediments showed that sites in the north of the country are still rising.

“Subsidence and rising sea levels will have implications for people and habitats, and will require action to manage resorts, industrial sites, ports, beaches, salt marshes and wetlands, wildlife and bird migrations,” he said.

The Telegraph, 7 Oct 2009

wolves bridges burnt

For the gray wolves of Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park, climate change has turned their island home from a refuge of solitude into untenable isolation.

Wolves were first spotted on Isle Royale in 1948; they were likely attracted by the moose. But how did either species get out there in the first place? By way of ice bridges from the mainland to the island, said wildlife ecologist Rolf Peterson of Michigan Technological University.

But continued burning of fossil fuels has warmed winter temperatures in the region. Ice formation on Lake Superior has decreased, and ice bridges are becoming increasingly rare.

“In the ’60s, an ice bridge would form about four out of every five years; now, it’s more like one out of every 10 years,” Peterson said. takepart, 16 Mar 2016

all is lost-ski

Global warming will sow destruction across Russia and ex-Soviet states, a report said on Tuesday after the world’s richest countries issued targets on harmful emissions that environmentalists criticized as too soft.

The 52-page report — written by green group WWF and British charity Oxfam — described a grim picture of social, ecological and economic collapse in the world’s biggest country and its former empire unless the world took urgent action. This diagram shows infrastructure collapse.

When the temperature rises the infrastructure breaks, WWF climate change expert in Russia Alexei Kokorin said holding up a diagram of the ex-Soviet Union swathed in bands of red, orange and yellow at a presentation of the report in Moscow.

We must understand that damage caused by climate change is here and now rather than a problem in the distant future, in distant lands, WWF’s director in Russia, Igor Chestin, said in a statement alongside the report.

“We must understand that damage caused by climate change is here and now rather than a problem in the distant future, in distant lands,” WWF’s director in Russia, Igor Chestin, said in a statement alongside the report. “There’s a lot at stake, including our health and even our lives.”

Reuters, 8 Jul 2008

Venice will rise again!

The cities of Venice, Italy and New Orleans, Louisiana have a tremendous problem in common. They are both built on river sediments and they are both slowly sinking into the sea.

Venice (the old city) is currently virtually exactly at sea level (and sinking) while New Orleans is already around 7 feet BELOW sea level (and sinking) and has had to be protected by levees surrounding it which keep the Mississippi River and a large lake and the water from the Gulf of Mexico out.

In 2002, I realized that it was actually possible to essentially hydrostatically ‘jack up’ the massive region of Venice and the surrounding area, at a rate of about one inch (2,5 cm) per month, by using river water sent down into selective water wells to develop hydrostatic pressure down there.

If a thousand gallons of water from local rivers is sent down every minute, in each of thirty standard water wells, that water is INCOMPRESSIBLE. In a five year period of this (natural) process, we should lift Venice and the entire region by about FIVE VERTICAL FEET, thereby totally solving Venice’s problem.

The process is NATURAL (river water falling down wells to develop pressure) and amazingly cheap and easy to do! C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago, 16 Aug 2016

polar bears get the elbow

Polar bears are likely to lose out to grizzly bears in fierce competition for food as climate change drives the two species closer together into shared habitat, biologists concluded in a study.

The research was based on 3-D computer modeling that compared the skull and jaw strength of the two bruins and found polar bears ill-suited to the tougher chewing demands posed by the largely vegetarian diet of their grizzly cousins.

This is one additional piece of evidence that things look pretty bleak for the polar bear, if current trends continue, said Graham Slater, the lead author of the research. Polar bears already are losing habitat as rising Arctic temperatures diminish the sea ice they depend on to hunt for seals.

As the ice continues to shrink, polar bears will be forced to seek additional food sources. To people who say polar bears can just change their diet, we are saying … they will have to, but it probably will not be sufficient for them, especially if they are co-existing with grizzly bears, said Blair Van Valkenburgh, senior author of the paper.

Heat Is Online, 24 Nov 2010 – Reuters

truffles under threat!

The black truffle, one of the most exclusive and expensive delicacies on the planet, is under threat from climate change.

A mysterious species of underground fungi with reported aphrodisiac and therapeutic properties, the aromatic truffles are also highly fragile and cannot withstand more than three weeks without water.

But prolonged drought in many of their prime growing regions in Europe and predictions about global warming suggest the future is about as black as the truffles themselves, to the despair of the growers.

“The bad harvest years, which used to be the exception, are becoming the norm,” Jean-Charles Savignac, President of the Federation Francaise des Trufficulteurs (FFT), told Reuters.

Reuters, 16 May 2008

the flight of the bumble bee

Global warming is shrinking the terrain where bumblebees live in North America and Europe, with these vital pollinators departing the southernmost and hottest parts of their ranges while failing to move north into cooler climes, scientists say.

Their study, published on Thursday, used records from 1901 to 2010 to track 67 bumblebee species, finding that the insects have surrendered about 185 miles (300 km) from the southern end of the regions they called home on both continents.

This is the ‘climate vise,’ said University of Ottawa biologist Jeremy Kerr, with the bumblebees “stuck at the northern edges of ranges while the southern edges are crushed inward and those populations are lost.”

Bumblebees are declining incredibly fast and the fingerprints of human-caused climate change are all over these changes, Kerr added. “Even more incredibly to us, these effects are often nearly identical across continents, occurring at the same pace in both Europe and North America.” Kerr said dramatic action should be considered: a proposal called “assisted migration” involving a large-scale relocation of bee populations into new areas where they might thrive.

More generally, losing pollinators is a sign that we are playing dangerously with life-support systems we can’t do without, Kerr added. “That is an experiment we should never have started.” Heat Is Online, 10 Jul 2015 – Reuters

watch where you’re standing!

A former member of the Clinton administration, and current Senior Fellow at the virtual Clinton think tank the Center for American Progress, claimed Monday that global warming might have played a factor in the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis last week.

Writing at Climate Progress, the global warming blog of CAP, Joseph Romm – who served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy in 1997 and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 1995 though 1998 – stated in a piece entitled “Did Climate Change Contribute To The Minneapolis Bridge Collapse?”

“Certainly climate change will have the biggest infrastructure impact on our coastal cities, water and sewage systems, levees, and electric grid. But given that a remarkable 70,000 other bridges in the country are also structurally deficient, we should seek to learn whether such troubled bridges can take the ever-growing stresses generated by global warming.”

“We need to be as prepared as possible for a changed climate – as the Center for American Progress has previously argued. Indeed, if the adapters have their way in blocking serious efforts aimed at prevention, we’ll need to be prepared for the very worst.”

mrc Newsbusters, 7 Aug 2007

moths move up

Global warming is forcing tropical species uphill to escape the rising temperatures at a rate of more than a metre a year, a new study from the mountains of Borneo suggests.

More than four decades after a group of undergraduate students visited the south-east Asian island in 1965, a team of British scientists returned to the same sites on Mount Kinabalu to repeat their survey of moths.

The group of six, including a member of the original trip, found that on average the insects had raised the altitude of their range by 67m.

The Guardian, 29 Jan 2009

bats falling like flies

Overheated flying foxes, panting and frantically fanning themselves with their wings, fell from the trees in New South Wales, Australia, six years ago.

Up to 3,500 black and grey-headed flying foxes died on the ground beneath their roosts, victims, researchers believe, of heat waves that pushed temperatures to 108 degrees F (42º C). In this era of looming climate change, such scorching temperatures are occurring more often.

Tragically so: since 1994, more than 30,000 flying foxes have died in New South Wales, apparently because of at least 19 episodes of extreme heat.

Climate Change and Bats, Volume 26, Issue 2, Summer 2008

walking on thin ice

While the steady disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic has been one of the hallmark effects of global warming, research shows it is not only covering less of the planet, but it’s also getting significantly thinner.

That makes it more susceptible to melting, potentially altering local ecosystems, shipping routes and ocean and atmospheric patterns. In estimating ice thickness, satellites must try to gauge thickness differences of just a few feet from hundreds of miles above the planet’s surface.

“It’s a tricky business,” University of Washington researcher, Ron Lindsay said.

The Guardian, 5 March 2015

bring back Sunday!

The power of public opinion and citizen action will have a strong impact on the climate conference taking place in Copenhagen.

One thing we can easily do to achieve this goal: we can declare Sunday to be a fossil fuel-free day or a low-carbon day or at least an energy-saving day. We can start this week, this month or in 2010. We can start individually and collectively.

The long journey to cut carbon dioxide emissions can start in the here and now….in the context of excessive carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, which are bringing catastrophic upheavals, we can and should restore Sunday to a day for Gaia, a day for the Earth.

The Guardian, 17 Sep 2009

fish emboldened

Acidic ocean water blunts the sense of smell in fish, making them bolder – perhaps recklessly so, according to a new study offering a glimpse of the oceans of the future. The findings suggest that, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, fish could suffer debilitating behavioral effects.

If reef fish behavior does not adapt to rising CO2 levels over coming generations, there could be serious consequences for the structure and function of future reef communities, the authors wrote in the study published in Nature Climate Change.

This is the first time people have been able to test what would happen in 100 years, said Danielle Dixson, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech University and co-author of the study, which was led by Australian researchers.

The differences are striking, said Karl Castillo, an assistant professor of marine sciences at the University of North Carolina who was not involved with the research. This is a strong study, Castillo said. “There’s no doubt there is something happening here due to acidification.” Heat Is Online, 14 Apr 2014 – The Daily Climate

the case of the disappearing acorns

Rod Simmons, a field botantist based in Arlington, Virginia, and Arlington naturalists began calling around.

A naturalist in Maryland found no acorns on an Audubon nature walk there. Ditto for Fairfax, Falls Church, Charles County, even as far away as Pennsylvania. There are no acorns falling from the majestic oaks in Arlington National Cemetery.

“Once I started paying attention, I couldn’t find any acorns anywhere. Not from white oaks, red oaks or black oaks, and this was supposed to be their big year,” said Greg Zell, a naturalist at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington.

“We’re talking zero. Not a single acorn. It’s really bizarre.”

Is it climate change or could it be the extreme opposite of a natural boom-and-bust cycle?

treehugger, 8 Dec 2008

the latest loser – the lesser butterfly orchid

Climate change is likely to produce losers as well as winners in Britain’s native flora – flowers of the mountains and cooler places are expected to decline – but the survey did not pick up as much negative evidence.

More increases that may be consistent with a warming climate have been found in plants that specialise in growing on waste places, such as square-stalked willowherb and prickly lettuce.

However, there is one candidate for global warming victim, and this is once again an orchid: the lesser butterfly orchid. This is a species of northern Europe, which tends to grow on the edges of heaths and moorlands.

The Independent, 24 Apr 2006

human development derailed!

Climate change may be the single factor that makes the future very different, impeding the continuing progress in human development that history would lead us to expect.

While international agreements have been difficult to achieve and policy responses have been generally slow, the broad consensus is clear: climate change is happening, and it can derail human development. – United Nations Human Development report The Guardian, 5 Nov 2010

the private struggles of a climate scientist

For activists like Mike Tidwell — founder of the nonprofit Chesapeake Climate Action Network and author of The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Race to Save America’s Coastal Cities — — part of being on the front lines means being outspoken and passionate about the cause.

But while activism may be a more forgiving platform to express emotional stresses than within the scientific community, the personal toll of the work goes largely undiscussed.

“You don’t just start talking about unbelievably fast sea-level rise at a cocktail party at a friend’s house,” Tidwell says. “So having to deny the emotional need to talk about what’s on your mind all the time … those are some of the burdens that climate aware scientists and activists have to endure.”

“People talk about climate change, openly talk about activism, and people even talk about how scary it is, and about how screwed we are and unbelievable it is that sea level is rising, and world governments still aren’t doing sXXX. But nobody talks about how it makes them feel personally.”

Heat Is Online – originally Grist.org, Oct. 28, 2014 By Madeleine Thomas

no-one spared, not even retrospectively!

A study of woolly mammoths has added to evidence they were wiped out by climate change, scientists say.

British and Swedish researchers sequenced DNA from 88 samples of bone, tooth and tusk, looking for a signature in the genetic code handed down on the maternal line. They used this telltale sign to build a family tree of mammoths spanning 200,000 years.

A warm period 120,000 years ago caused populations to decline and become fragmented. Wrangel Island, in the Siberian Arctic, and the island of St Paul, off Alaska, are believed to have been the mammoths’ last refuge. Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Sep 2013 – screencopy held by this website

cokcroaches on the march!

Climate change is being blamed for a changing of the guard among Sydney’s cockroach population.

Researchers say the most common sub-species in city households was the german cockroach, until it disappeared about seven years ago. Martyn Robinson from the Australian Museum says the Australian house cockroach, methana marginalus, which likes warmer climates, has begun moving in.

It’s most likely to be the…warmer climate, he said. They certainly have appeared for many many years just on little spot occurrences where somebody will find this funny little cockroach that’s probably come in on their suitcase from a trip up to Queensland.

ABC News, 14 Mar 2007

missing link found!

A Stanford scientist has spelled out for the first time the direct links between increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and increases in human mortality, using a state-of-the-art computer model of the atmosphere that incorporates scores of physical and chemical environmental processes.

The new findings, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, come to light just after the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent ruling against states setting specific emission standards for this greenhouse gas based in part on the lack of data showing the link between carbon dioxide emissions and their health effects.

While it has long been known that carbon dioxide emissions contribute to climate change, the new study details how for each increase of one degree Celsius caused by carbon dioxide, the resulting air pollution would lead annually to about a thousand additional deaths and many more cases of respiratory illness and asthma in the United States, according to the paper by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford.

Worldwide, upward of 20,000 air-pollution-related deaths per year per degree Celsius may be due to this greenhouse gas.

Eureka Alert, 3/1/08

Dear Earth, are you listening?

Dr. Sarah Perkins, a climate scientist and extreme events specialist with the University of New South Wales, shared both her concern and hope about our Earth.

“For sometime now I’ve been terribly worried. I wish I didn’t have to acknowledge it, but everything I have feared is happening. I used to think I was paranoid, but it’s true. She’s slipping away from us. She’s been showing signs of acute illness for quite a while, but no one has really done anything.

Her increased erratic behavior is something I’ve especially noticed. Certain behaviors that were only rare occurrences are starting to occur more often, and with heightened anger. I’ve tried to highlight these changes time and time again, as well as their speed of increase, but no one has paid attention.

It almost seems everyone has been ignoring me completely, and I’m not sure why. Is it easier to pretend there’s no illness, hoping it will go away? Or because they’ve never had to live without her, so the thought of death is impossible? Perhaps they cannot see they’ve done this to her. We all have. To me this is all false logic. How can you ignore the severe sickness of someone you are so intricately connected to and dependent upon.

How can you let your selfishness and greed take control, and not protect and nurture those who need it most? How can anyone not feel an overwhelming sense of care and responsibility when those so dear to us are so desperately ill? How can you push all this to the back of your mind? This is something I will never understand. Perhaps I’m the odd one out, the anomaly of the human race. The one who cares enough, who has the compassion, to want to help make her better.

The thing is we can make her better!! If we work together, we can cure this terrible illness and restore her to her old self before we exploited her. But we must act quickly, we must act together. Time is ticking, and we need to act now.”

Heat Is Online – originally Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org. Jan. 25, 2015

world trapped in paradigmatic lock!

The UFO phenomenon has become part of the news for many decades. Meanwhile, our planet entered a crucial phase of its history like nobody has known before, when mankind obtained technical means allowing to seriously deteriorate its environment, and beyond, to destroy any life on Earth. Among most visible signs, global warming is obvious.

While our technology sees a spectacular progress, our fundamental knowledge tramples more and more. In our opinion, this is the consequence of immutable dogmatic prejudices, a refusal of any really innovative fundamental scientific idea, in particular any change in our comprehension of the universe which could make interstellar travel possible, therefore incursions of visitors coming from stellar systems located at several tens light-years from ours, or even more.

The systematic brake to engage a true research, focusing on a rational and scientific investigation of the UFO file, is also for us a cloistering of the thought, a paradigmatic lock.

UFO Science, 23 Jun 2007

you’re not paranoid – everyone IS ignoring you

“For sometime now I’ve been terribly worried. I wish I didn’t have to acknowledge it, but everything I have feared is happening. I used to think I was paranoid, but it’s true. She’s slipping away from us.

She’s been showing signs of acute illness for quite a while, but no one has really done anything. Her increased erratic behaviour is something I’ve especially noticed. Certain behaviours that were only rare occurrences are starting to occur more often, and with heightened anger.

I’ve tried to highlight these changes time and time again, as well as their speed of increase, but no one has paid attention. It almost seems everyone has been ignoring me completely, and I’m not sure why.

Is it easier to pretend there’s no illness, hoping it will go away? Or because they’ve never had to live without her, so the thought of death is impossible? perhaps they cannot see they’ve done this to her. We all have.” – Dr Sarah Perkins Climate Scientist, Extreme Events Specialist University of New South Wales.

Is This How You Feel? Website – How scientists feel

doctors to blame!

They’re meant to be the protectors of our health. But it seems that doctors are contributing to making the planet sick.

Unnecessary travel to medical conferences around the world is contributing to global warming, according to an editorial in a top medical journal. Writing in this week’s British Medical Journal, Ian Roberts, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and journal’s editor, Fioa Godlee, say that the threat to human health from climate change is substantial.

Most of the health burden of climate change is borne by children in developing countries.

“It is ironic that doctors, for whom protecting health is a primary responsibility, contribute to global warming through unnecessary attendances at international conferences,” they write; saying that evidence that attending conferences lectures improved practice was “scant”. The Age, 17 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website

white bearded monkeys on the move!

The white-bearded De Brazza’s monkeys were found in the Great Rift Valley, a place they had never been spotted before, Richard Leakey, a prominent white Kenyan credited with ending the slaughter of the nation’s elephants, told Reuters in Nairobi.

“That is telling us a lot about the climate change scenarios we are looking at now,” he said. “It puts climate change as the most critical consideration as we plan for the future.”

Leakey, whose palaeontologist father, Louis, caused a radical rethink of human evolution with key fossil finds in east Africa, said African governments lacked funds to do their own climate change studies, and so had to rely on researchers who he said were typically more focused on temperate regions.

Planet Ark, 1 Nov 2007

enlist the deceased!

Instead of the dead pushing up daisies, a Victorian scientist wants them to help in the fight against climate change by fertilising their favourite tree. The University of Melbourne’s Professor Roger Short has called for an end to cremations, declaring the environmental cost of burning a body and a wooden coffin is “enormous”.

The greener option, he said, was to place bodies in a cardboard coffin or a hessian sack, and then bury them upright next to a tree so the remains would help its growth.

“We have earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” he said. “Why not earth to earth, and stop at that?”

The Age (Australia), 19 Apr 2007

smaller mountains needed

Goats are shrinking as a result of climate change, researchers have claimed. They say Alpine goats now weigh about 25 per cent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s.

Researchers say it is a stark indication of how quickly climate change can affect animals. They appear to be shrinking in size as they react to changes in climate, according to new research from Durham University.

The researchers studied the impacts of changes in temperature on the body size of Alpine Chamois, a species of mountain goat, over the past 30 years. To their surprise, they discovered that young Chamois now weigh about 25 per cent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s.

Lead author Dr Tom Mason, in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, at Durham University, said: “Body size declines attributed to climate change are widespread in the animal kingdom, with many fish, bird and mammal species getting smaller.” Heat Is Online, 21 Oct 2014 – The Daily Mail (U.K.)

travelling trees

In a paper appearing this month in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, the study authors documented the northward march of 40 major tree species over 30 eastern states based on the distribution of seedlings versus mature trees.

The finding confirms a link between global warming and forest migration, said lead study author Chris Woodall, of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“This is no longer conjecture,” he said. National Geographic News, 9 Feb 2009

oceans choked

According to a simulation of planetary warming trends, failure to drastically cut greenhouse gas pollution within the next half century could choke Earth’s oceans for the next 100,000 years.

What mankind does for the next several decades will play a large role in climate on Earth over the next tens of thousands of years, said geochemist Gary Shaffer of the University of Copenhagen. Wired, 26 Jan 2009

The golden winged warbler and the blue winged warbler are an item!

“As we’ve developed genomic methodologies, we’re finding that organisms are exchanging genes with other species,” Michael Arnold, a professor of genetics at the University of Georgia, said. “Genetic exchange due to organisms coming together from climate change is the rule rather than the exception.”

But the rate at which species interbreed is accelerating because of climate change, researchers say. As habitats and animal ranges change and bleed into one another, species that never before would have encountered one another are now mating.

Warmer temperatures have allowed grizzly bears and polar bears to venture to habitats they don’t usually occupy and mate to form a hybrid: the pizzly or grolar bear. Similar trends have been observed between golden-winged warblers and blue-winged warblers.

Heat Is Online, 1 Jun 2015 – Scientific American, June 1, 2015 from ClimateWire, June 1, 2015

Red squirrels move with the times!

Red squirrels appear to be evolving in response to climate change, scientists report today, the first sign that creatures are undergoing genetic alteration due to rising temperatures.

Canadian scientists studying North American red squirrels – which are related to their British counterparts – say compared with 10 years ago, female squirrels are giving birth about 18 days earlier.

Much of the difference from one generation to the next is due to squirrels’ ability to respond to the rise in their staple food, white spruce cones, as temperatures increase. But a small component is due to natural selection, the basis of evolution.

The research, published by the Royal Society, shows that natural selection is favouring squirrels whose genes tend towards breeding earlier in the season. We show that a small part of these changes can be caused by microevolutionary responses, said Denis Réale, of McGill University in Montreal, who led the study of 325 squirrels near Kluane Lake in the Yukon.

The Guardian, 12 Feb 2003