A tipping point is a point in time when a small thing can make a big change happen. The term was popularized in sociology in recent decades, but really comes from physics where is refers to adding a small amount of weight to a balanced object causing it to topple over.
Satellites orbiting the earth are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for counting and monitoring wildlife populations and to answer a host of other questions about the natural world.
Public opinion about global warming is an important influence on decision making about policies to combat global warming and to be prepared for its consequences. An extensive polling effort by Yale University has produced an estimate of public opinions down to state, congressional district, and county levels.
Most of the world has accepted the analysis of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists that shows that our planet is warming and that our actions are the primary cause. However, some people – notably a number holding high office – reject this analysis. What exactly does it imply to say that climate change is not happening or is not caused by us?
Amphibians are one of the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. Since the late 1980s, scientists have measured dramatic population declines from locations all over the world. The plummeting amphibian populations are perceived to be one of the most critical threats to global biodiversity. According to the IUCN, about 1 of every 3 amphibian species is facing extinction. Some of the greatest threats facing amphibians include climate change, disease, and habitat destruction.
Regardless of the new administration’s position on climate change, America’s corporations have assumed a leadership role in the country’s ability to meet and beat previous domestic climate pledges.
With the forthcoming administration change, it appears that the federal government is likely to start backing away from tackling climate change and may even be obstructive towards efforts to mitigate the growing problem of greenhouse gas emissions.
Global climate change is typically referred to as global warming and that name implies that things are getting warmer all the time. Well, the planet as a whole is, as measured by the planet-wide mean temperature, which continues to rise over time.
Most of the blame for climate change has been placed on the growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but methane also plays a major role. Estimates are that about 1/5 of greenhouse effect warming is caused by methane in the atmosphere. There is far less of it than carbon dioxide, but methane is tremendously more effective at trapping heat.
Combating climate change is a bit like treating a disease whose early stage symptoms are not very severe. People are not as motivated as they should be. Businesses have to comply with new regulations and spend money on new technologies, which seems like a losing proposition.
Post-apocalyptic fiction is all the rage these days. There are numerous stories featuring an endless list of civilization-ending disasters: asteroid collisions, cataclysmic earthquakes, nuclear wars, supervolcanoes, pandemics… the list goes on and on. Most of the time, humanity either perishes entirely, is reduced to a handful of heroic and astonishingly resourceful souls, or ends up inexplicably as zombies staggering around the landscape in search of brains.
We’ve all come to take for granted the ability of GPS systems to help us find our way around our cities, the countryside and, for that matter, the world in general. Software interacting with Global Positioning Satellites allows us to pinpoint our location on the Earth with remarkable accuracy. At least, as long as places on Earth stay put. But the problem is that they actually don’t.
As the world’s population grows and becomes more urban and affluent, the amount of solid waste we produce grows and grows. Over the past century, the total amount has risen tenfold. By 2025, the world-wide total is expected to double again. The average person in the United States throws away their body weight in garbage every month.
NASA data show that the Earth’s temperature in July was the highest recorded since record-keeping began 136 years ago. It was also the 10th straight month of record-breaking temperatures and was .18 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous hottest July in 2011.
The luminous glow of the Milky Way, the galaxy that contains our Solar System, has inspired everything from stories and songs to paintings and poems for centuries. But now one third of the people on the planet – including 80% of Americans and 60% of Europeans – cannot see the Milky Way at night because of light pollution. Nighttime light pollution now covers nearly 80% of the globe.
The discovery of acid rain in North America was made possible by environmental data collected at a biological field station nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is just one of the many biological field stations located around the globe that are keeping a pulse on the health of our planet.