Climate News Roundup: Week of 2/20
Climate Change Affecting Owl Color in Finland, USA Today, Feb. 22
A longitudinal study of 28 years found that the brown variant of the Finnish tawny owl is surviving at a better rate than the grey owl. Milder winters with less snow cover allow the brown owls to better camouflage themselves from predators. Researchers from the University of Helsinki therefore, draw a link between climate change and this heritable trait.
Why Are Americans So Ill-Informed about Climate Change?, Scientific American, Feb. 23
Despite a consensus on human-induced global warming in the scientific community, large portions of the American public are still skeptical of climate science. Scientists discussed this phenomenon during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Explanations for this discrepancy were considered, such as the changing face of media, along with solutions for moving forward, such as direct engagement of scientists with the public.
A new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that the length of hay fever, ragweed, and pollen allergy seasons are likely to vary as a result of a changing climate. Northern states are expected to see a lengthening of their allergy season due to global warming, while southern states may see shorter seasons.
Scientists Are Cleared of Misuse of Data, New York Times, Feb. 24
An investigation by the Commerce Department’s inspector general found no evidence that scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration manipulated climate data to promote the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Senator James M. Inhofe requested the inquiry in response to the East Anglia controversy over stolen e-mail messages between climate scientists. The British House of Commons, Pennsylvania Sate University, the InterAcademy Council, and the National Research Council have also inspected the leaked e-mails and exonerated the scientists accused of scientific wrongdoing.
Which Nations Are Most Vulnerable to Climate Change? The Daunting Politics of Choosing, New York Times, Feb. 24
Various international organizations and economists are attempting to rank countries according to their vulnerability to climate change. Such a list could influence the monetary allocation of the planned, multibillion-dollar Green Climate Fund, and is thus causing political controversy, as countries contend to be considered “vulnerable.” Such an assessment will be very difficult, involving not only climate change impacts, but also the ability of nations to adapt to them.