Accurate estimation of biodiversity 

Policymakers are often concerned with the preservation of biodiversity at national, continental or global scales, but most biodiversity monitoring is conducted at very fine scales. This mismatch between the scales of our policies and of our data creates serious challenges, especially when assessing biodiversity change. In a new study, published in Ecological Monographs today, nearly the entire global research community addressing this problem was asked to put their techniques to the test by applying them to the same data set.

Source: Accurate estimation of biodiversity is now possible on a global scale

Geoengineering:  more harm than good

A team of researchers led by Christopher Trisos of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Centre at the University of Maryland, US, has now modelled the effects of abrupt changes in potential long-term SAI geoengineering projects.

The scientists imagine a scenario in which SAI projects continue to 2070 and then are quickly halted due, most likely, to mercurial politics. Using a geoengineering climate model simulation called the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project, or GeoMIP, they found that such a quick change would reduce global biodiversity more than global warming itself would.

The reason for this is to do with the rate of climate change.

Source: Geoengineering could cause more harm than climate change

2017 was warmest year for the global ocean

2017 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean according to an updated ocean analysis from Institute of Atmospheric Physics/Chinese Academy of Science.

Owing to its large heat capacity, the ocean accumulates the warming derived from human activities; indeed, more than 90% of Earth’s residual heat related to global warming is absorbed by the ocean. As such, the global ocean heat content record robustly represents the signature of global warming and is impacted less by weather-related noise and climate variability such as El Niño and La Niña events. According to the IAP ocean analysis, the last five years have been the five warmest years in the ocean. Therefore, the long-term warming trend driven by human activities continued unabated.

Source: 2017 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean

The Financial Inclusion Challenge


Financial security is beyond the reach of millions of Americans. Nearly one-fourth of adults can’t pay their monthly bills, and roughly the same number have little or no access to a bank. Many have no retirement savings or aren’t sure how to manage them. Financial insecurity damps growth and prosperity in the consumer-driven U.S. economy.

The Wall Street Journal’s Financial Inclusion Challenge, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, is seeking entries from for-profit and nonprofit enterprises whose products or services help to improve financial resilience, via innovative, scalable, sustainable and socially positive solutions.

Enter the competition

Deadline: Noon ET, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

Source: The Financial Inclusion Challenge – Decision Science News

Ocean Heat Wave 53 Times More Likely

Just as atmospheric shifts can bring droughts and nasty heat waves on land, shifts in weather or ocean circulation also can spark deadly marine heat waves, which can thoroughly scramble life at sea. But until recently scientists understood little about what role climate change might play in these extreme sea events.

Now, new first-of-its-kind research is making clear that human emissions of greenhouse gases made the appearance of each patch of hot water many times—in some cases dozens, even hundreds of times—more likely to occur.

Source: Human Emissions Made Ocean Heat Wave 53 Times More Likely

Nine uses for graphene

Just one atom thick (or thin, depending on how you think about it), graphene is among the strongest materials in the known universe, with 100 times the strength of steel, an astonishing amount of flexibility, and a whole lot of other talents lurking beneath the surface.

Do you remember that classic scene from The Simpsons in which Homer is offered “wax lips,” described by the salesman as “the candy of 1,000 uses?” Well, graphene is the wax lips of the material science world. And while we don’t have time to detail 1,000 uses, here are some of the most exciting graphene discoveries made so far.

Source: 9 amazing uses for graphene, from filtering seawater to smart paint

“High Risk” of Global warming exceeding Paris agreement’s 1.5C 

There is a “very high risk” that the most ambitious global warming limit set in the Paris climate agreement is likely to be exceeded by the 2040s, according to a draft United Nations (UN) report.

Only a dramatic and unprecedented shift away from fossil fuels will enable world governments to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial times, it said.

Hitting this target would “involve removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said the report compiled by scientists on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Source: Global warming set to exceed Paris agreement’s ambitious 1.5C limit by mid-century, according to dr.3aft UN report

Bipartisan lawmakers to Trump: designate climate change a security threat


A bipartisan group of more than 100 House lawmakers are urging President Trump to name climate change a major security threat after he declined to include it in the administration’s national security strategy.

In a letter sent to the White House Thursday, 106 members, including 11 Republicans, implore Trump to “reconsider this omission.”

“We have heard from scientists, military leaders, and civil personnel who believe that climate change is indeed a direct threat to America’s national security and to the stability of the world at large,” write Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who co-authored the letter.

Source: More than 100 lawmakers call on Trump to designate climate change a security threat

Climate Change And Plant Growth

Global warming affects more than just plant biodiversity – it even alters the way plants grow. A team of researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) joined forces with the Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry (IPB) to discover which molecular processes are involved in plant growth. In the current edition of the internationally renowned journal Current Biology, the group presents its latest findings on the mechanism controlling growth at high temperatures. In the future this could help breed plants that are adapted to global warming.