Honeybees have been in the news lately because they’re disappearing. They’re crucial to food production, but they’re not native to North America. Now some scientists are turning their attention to the importance and health of native pollinators. Researchers are using the elevation of the San Francisco Peaks to study how local insects might respond to a warming global climate.
A group of scientists is calling for a moratorium on the development of tar sands and oil shale in North America. The Colorado River Basin contains the largest untapped deposits of oil shale in the world.
More than 100 scientists have asked policy leaders to consider the potential global impacts of developing tar sands and oil shale. They say the carbon-intensive extraction process is incompatible with limiting climate change.
Thomas Sisk, an ecology professor at Northern Arizona University, is one of the lead authors.
Thousands of scientists worldwide are studying the environmental impact of climate change. But now, two professors of English are studying its emotional impact. SueEllen Campbell and John Calderazzo are co-directors of a climate change outreach and discussion group at Colorado State University. And, they recently visited Northern Arizona University to share this message about the Earth’s changing climate:
Much of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from human activities — like burning fossil fuel — is taken up as plant food. Northern Arizona University’s Debbie Huntzinger, a researcher of climate change models, says the land’s surface is currently storing more of the greenhouse gas than it’s giving off.
Some scientists predict the Southwest will continue on its warming trend. NAU biology professor Tom Whitham says the rise in temperatures is happening so fast - 3 degrees in the last 60 years - that many plants are not able to adapt and survive.
The National League of Cities has chosen to recognize Flagstaff for its achievements in climate and weather preparedness. The city is the first in the country to adopt a climate event policy for all municipal operations.
A place with one of the harshest climates in the Southwest –- Phoenix -- records more days over 100 degrees than any other major city in the country. But climate models predict metro Phoenix, with its population of four million, will get hotter.
Here in John Larsala’s driveway, the view is bleak.
“You see our tree is dead,” Larsala said. “All these trees are dying because I can’t put water on it.”
The grass is dead too. In fact, there is no grass anymore.
Sitting high and mainly dry, residents of the Colorado Plateau don’t have to worry about rising sea levels as the Earth’s climate warms. But in recent years parts of the plateau have experienced record warming and low moisture, damaging winter storms, and severe wildfires and flooding.
Whether these are short-term weather events, or signs of a longer-term change in climate, remains to be seen. But some in the region are already adapting to what they fear could be even greater impacts caused by an altered climate.