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Lobster Cannibalism Now Linked to Climate Change

Lobster Cannibalism Now Linked to Climate Change


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New research points to climate change as the cause for increased lobster cannibalism in the wild.

New research suggests that climate change could be at the root of lobster cannibalism.

We’ve revealed to you that lobsters can adopt cannibalistic behavior under certain conditions such as crowded captivity in restaurant tanks, but this new research shows that more and more lobsters are turning on each other and their young out in the wild, as well.

The statistics are disturbing: Repeated experiments have revealed that young lobsters are 90 percent more likely to be attacked and eaten by fellow lobsters than by any other type of fish.

Researchers like Noah Oppenheim, a biologist studying the New England marine ecosystem, blame the rising ocean water temperatures for the increase in lobster cannibalism. Over the past ten years, the average temperature of the coastal waters has increased by more than three degrees, which is an alarmingly large jump.

Oppenheim stated that, as water temperatures rise, lobsters produce more offspring and grow larger. The lobster cannibalism thus occurs when there are too many lobsters and not enough natural food for them to share.

This isn’t merely a problem for the baby lobsters, either. Lobster fishermen are experiencing the lowest market prices they’ve seen since the Great Depression.

Faced with high labor and production costs and low market returns, lobster fisherman could be facing a tough year ahead. Keep this in mind the next time you check out the price of a lobster dish at your favorite seafood restaurant.


‘I'm not a quitter’: lobstermen turn to kelp farming in the face of climate crisis

R ocky shorelines and weathered saltbox homes dot the landscape of South Thomaston on the coast of Maine. Lobster traps take up frontyard real estate and lobster shacks, still shuttered for the season, are common sightings. Back from a day of scalloping, lobsterman Bob Baines has docked his boat, the FV Thrasher, at the Spruce Head Fishermans Co-op. His sternman, David McLellan, clad in waterproof overalls like Baines, shucks the last few hauls, tossing the meats into a bucket and the shells overboard.

It’s the last week of scallop season, but there is a new venture on the horizon. Baines, 64, steers the Thrasher back out toward Hewett Island on Penobscot Bay to check on the underwater kelp farm that he “planted” in December. It’s a willowy structure made up of moorings, buoys and ropes that hovers 7ft underwater and spans 1,000ft wide, like a monster cat’s cradle.

The only indicator that there is anything happening below the surface are the buoys that outline a hidden plot, with 13 parallel lines criss-crossing back and forth, each wrapped in a helix of twine impregnated with kelp seed that has grown into translucent brown ribbons.

Baines is among the latest of 19 veteran lobstermen along the Maine coast who are applying their hard-earned expertise to kelp farming. It’s boom time for lobster in Maine – 2019 was the fourth most profitable year in the history of an industry that accounts for $1bn in state revenue, second only to tourism. But a variety of factors, most of which can be traced to climate change, have left lobstermen more vulnerable than ever.

The lobster industry’s unprecedented growth may sound like a good thing, but the cause of it is alarming. According to a 2015 Science magazine study, the Gulf of Maine is heating up faster than 99% of the world’s oceans. This, in addition to proactive conservation efforts implemented over the years, has accounted for the flourishing of the lobster population lobster are thriving in the slightly warmer waters. But lobstermen know better than to celebrate. All they need to do is look at what happened in the early 2000s in places like Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Long Island Sound, where once-robust lobster fisheries have become commercially extinct due to the continually warming waters.

“I think we have a long time before that happens in Maine,” says Susie Arnold, a marine scientist at Maine’s Island Institute, who works with fishermen to diversify their businesses by including aquaculture, like kelp farming. “But the changes that are occurring are undeniable.”

Those changes aren’t good, but kelp farming has the potential for environmental good. “The ocean is a sponge for carbon dioxide,” says Nichole Price, senior research scientist and director of the Center for Seafood Solutions at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine. Carbon dioxide is the cause of ocean acidification, one of the myriad stressors responsible for destroying coral reefs and preventing mollusks from building their shells. Price has found evidence that sugar kelp has an especially high capacity for absorbing CO2 and thus lowering the acidity of the surrounding water. Investing in kelp farming now could potentially benefit marine life in the future.

“The Maine coast is almost all lobster now, and it didn’t used to be that way,” says Baines, who has a close-cropped white beard, chiseled cheekbones and hazel eyes so deep-set that it often looks like he’s squinting. “When I was a teenager, in summertimes I worked in a lobster boat that went long-lining for ground fish – cod, haddock, hake – that were dominant in the Gulf of Maine.” The way Baines says “cod” sounds more like “caught”, as one might expect of a New Jersey native who spent his childhood summers in Maine and has lived his adult life here.

While Baines still goes out scalloping and sometimes fishes for halibut, most Maine lobstermen these days rely entirely on lobster to survive. If it’s a bad year for lobster, it’s a very bad year for lobstermen. And, in general, profit margins are lower than they were years ago, due to fuel costs and the rising price of bait and gear, in addition to regulations placed on lobster fishing by the federal government to protect the endangered right whale. Federal restrictions due to the trade war with China and the economic fallout caused by Covid-19 have further devastated their bottom line.

Kelp farming is positioned as a form of insurance, offering lobstermen such as Baines some of the financial security off-season fishing once did. He is one of the 24 “partner farmers” working with Atlantic Sea Farms, which was founded in 2009 under the name Ocean Approved as the first commercial seaweed farm and nursery in North America. (Baines’s daughter, Jesse, works for the company.) Atlantic cultivates seeds and gives them to partner farmers, assists with the design and layout of the kelp farms, and coaches farmers throughout the season – from setting up the farm in the winter to the harvest in spring, complementary to lobster’s summer to fall season. Because Atlantic Sea Farms seeks experienced lobstermen who already have equipment and know-how, start-up costs tend to be lower than those who are beginning from scratch.

The farmers grow two types of kelp – ripply sugar kelp and ribbon-like skinny kelp – which Atlantic then processes into a line of goods they sell online, to grocery stores, fast-casual chains, meal kit companies such as Daily Harvest, and national restaurants. Kelp grows 3-8lbs per foot of line, which means a farm with 13,000ft, the average size of Atlantic Sea Farms’ partner farmers’ lines, can potentially generate around $20,000 to $57,000 at harvest time.

Baines is among 19 veteran lobstermen along the Maine coast who are applying their hard-earned expertise to kelp farming. Photograph: Greta Rybus/The Guardian

In Southport, Maine, an hour down the coast from Baines’ kelp farm, husband and wife Alex Hutchins and Jodi Brewer are coming up on the end of their latest season growing kelp for Atlantic Sea Farms. This will be their third harvest – though last year an errant dock tore through their lines, sweeping their entire farm away. “We were getting ready to harvest,” says Hutchins, 35, wearing a weathered baseball cap, wisps of sandy brown hair poking out from underneath. “There were 18,000 feet of line, 3 ½ to 4lbs of kelp a foot, about 5 to 8ft long – we would have had 90,000lbs of kelp. We spent three days cleaning it up.”

After last year’s debacle, Hutchins babysits the plots regularly to see that the lines haven’t crossed, which would rub the kelp right off, and otherwise make sure that everything is looking right. If all goes well, he is projecting a 48,000lb harvest.

“I’m not much of a quitter,” says Hutchins. “When Jodi and I met, the price of lobster went down and I was washing windows for $10 an hour.” Hutchins, who comes from a long line of lobstermen, is no stranger to the turbulence of the trade. His family started fishing in Maine in the 1600s he himself has been lobstering since he was eight, and started in earnest as a 20-year-old, with his father as his sternman. Until a few years ago, Hutchins fished for shrimp during the lobster off-season. He had invested in hundreds of shrimp traps right before the state closed the shrimp fishery in 2014, due to the warming waters. That is when he and Brewer turned to kelp.

“We wanted to fill the void where we had lost shrimping,” says Brewer, who wears a fleece pullover embroidered with her name, and punctuates her speech with nervous giggles. “The price of lobster is so volatile anyways,” adds Hutchins. “What we have going on right now with the coronavirus and the prices dropping. Normally this is the highest price time of year. I got $10.50 to $11 per lb this time last year. And now we’re at $4, $4.50. So it’s nice for me to have something else to fall back on besides lobstering.”

Back in South Thomaston, Baines cruises toward his kelp farm, pointing it out on a chart plotter, where it looks like a stick drawing of a rectangle on a digital screen. It appears straightforward enough, but creating a three-dimensional rope structure in the ocean is as challenging as you’d think.

“When you’re seeding the farm, you’re working out of a skiff, not out of a big lobster boat,” says Baines. “In a 14ft skiff in choppy waters, you’re bouncing all over the place. When I got home that first day of seeding, I hadn’t been that tired in I don’t know how many years of fishing.”

But the effort seems to be paying off. Baines lifts a line out of the water, from where kelp the color of a Budweiser bottle dangles like streamers and offers a sample. The flavor is fresh and vegetal, like underripe peas, and, surprisingly, not salty. No wonder it has gastronomic appeal. Atlantic Sea Farms’ kelp has been championed by the likes of Alice Waters, renowned chef, and made an appearance last March in a salad created by chef David Chang for the fast-casual chain Sweetgreen. At Chaval, a French and Spanish-influenced restaurant in Portland, kelp has found its way into the glass – dried and powdered, in a salted cocktail rim that tasted like the beach – and onto the plate – in an ethereally crisp churro stuffed with lemon cream, where kelp is integrated into the dough and blended into the sugar mixture that is sprinkled on top.

Despite the multifold promise of kelp, not everyone is on board with seaweed aquaculture. “Kelp farming is so new that for many fishermen, the initial reaction is ‘I don’t want that around here, that’s where I go lobstering’,” says Baines.

At a community hearing last year to review the lease for Baine’s kelp farm, other lobstermen complained that the aquaculture lease would somehow hamper their ability to catch lobster, even though kelp farming occurs from winter to the spring, during lobster’s off-season. “It’s not a reasonable argument,” says Baines. “Once they see that my lease didn’t bother anyone or take anything away from them, it will all settle right down.”

Meanwhile, Atlantic Sea Farms powers ahead. They have plans to move into a larger facility and there is a waitlist of fishermen who want to farm with them. They want to expand their network of partner farmers, which currently numbers 24. But due to the coronavirus outbreak, the waters have become choppy. In late March, Atlantic Sea Farms lost most of their food service clients, which made up about 50% of their accounts. Simultaneously, they saw increased retail and meal kit demand, and a surge in online sales. In the short term, they hope to shift the ratio of their contracts toward retail, with a Wegmans rollout and an expansion into Whole Foods in New England and other regions scheduled for the summer.

Bob Baines, Alex Hutchins and Jodi Brewer, and the rest of the partner farmers received an email in late March from Briana Warner, the chief executive of Atlantic Sea Farms, assuring them that the company is still committed to buying their kelp. “Lobster prices dropped dramatically and we are heading into the lobster season very soon, so this kelp income matters more than before,” says Warner. “It could be a very hard season.” To meet the CDC standards for social distancing, Atlantic Sea Farms will not be bringing in their usual seasonal workers who commute from Massachusetts each day during harvest to process the kelp. Instead, it will be done with a local skeleton crew made up mostly of the company’s management team. “It hurts but we’ll get through it,” says Warner.

As for the farmers, they are happy to have work they can rely on. “This is the hardest time of year for commercial fishermen,” says Hutchins of the winter-spring season. “And this year, not knowing what will happen with the lobster market as a whole, it’s nice to know I have something coming in.”

A fish shack with lobster traps in Cozy Harbor, on Southport Island, Maine. Photograph: Greta Rybus/The Guardian


'We have no market, but lots of lobsters': a Maine lobsterwoman fights for her livelihood

“If I’m not fishing, I’m working on gear or my boat. Or meetings involving fishing. It’s what I eat, sleep and breathe,” lobsterwoman Julie Eaton tells me.

Eaton lives on Deer Isle, and fishes Penobscot Bay – a deep blue inlet of the Gulf of Maine, dotted by working waterfronts, rocky islands, wooden schooners and lobster buoys. I ask her what it’s like to start lobster season.

“How do I even begin to tell you what it feels like?” she says, sighing. “It feels like I’ve held my breath all winter. Finally, when I turn the key to my boat and I’m going across the bay, my lungs fill with air for the first time in months. All of a sudden I feel alive. The freedom! The independence. The beauty. It’s almost spiritual, the connection I have with the sea.”

The connection between Maine lobstermen and the sea is legendary. In 1954, the beloved author EB White wrote and narrated a short film set on the same island Julie calls home. A Maine Lobsterman features Gene Eaton – a likely relative of Julie’s husband – on his boat Nor Wester. Gene began his day at dawn, as Julie soon will.

Lobstering has never been an easy vocation. It is, as White said 50 years ago, for men who don’t mind wet feet. Men who can navigate a rocky shoreline with a faulty compass in brutal weather.

Today, in the spring of 2020, Maine’s lobstermen – and women – face pronounced challenges: an ageing fleet, a bait shortage, regulations that restrict vertical fishing lines in order to protect endangered right whales, and a decrease in trade with China after Trump’s trade war.

Maine fishers confront many of the same hurdles already noted in this column: working docks are disappearing, and the opioid crisis has reduced the reliability of crew. Climate change – the great accelerant – is warming the Gulf of Maine and shifting lobster populations north. Plus, the lingering pandemic has silenced a once-thriving market for fresh lobster.

“The pandemic is killing us,” Julie Eaton tells me. “It’s a terrible thing. We have no market, but lots of lobsters. We’re safe to fish on our boats. On my boat, it’s just me and my stern-woman. But I have no place to sell my catch! Right now, I’m home working on traps and gear. I’ll set my traps as late as I can, and still be able to make a year’s pay. I’m trying to fish a little smarter, not harder. I have a very limited time to make a year’s pay – it’s a little scary.

“I’m 56. My husband is 76 – we each have boats,” she tells me. “I’m not sure my husband’s going to go this year. He’s very concerned about the market. He had a bad heart attack in February. He may sit this year out.”

Eaton pauses. “I can do that. I can carry us both. If roles were reversed, he’d carry me. That’s how things work around here.”

T he big question right now, Dr Andy Pershing tells me, is how many lobsters are going to get caught this year, with the pandemic dampening the market. “What I’m reflecting on,” he says, “is that so many of our models assume a very active lobster fishery. This year totally breaks that assumption. We’re going to learn a ton about lobsters and the fishery.”

Pershing is the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s chief scientific officer and runs the Climate Change Ecology Lab. He has spearheaded pivotal studies, concluding in 2018 that the Gulf of Maine was warming faster than 99% of other bodies of saltwater on Earth.

According to Esperanza Stancioff, the climate change lead at the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, 2012 was the exceptionally warm year that got the attention of many lobstermen in Maine, and led them to work together with scientists.

“Lobstermen in Maine used to be able to set their watches for the first shed [when lobsters cast off their old shells] of the season,” Stancioff tells me. “In 2012, it came a full six weeks early. There was no market. The soft shells were too fragile to ship. Lobsters were dying in buckets on the docks.”

“Lobstermen are daily ecologists – super bright people,” Stancioff says. “They’re so aware. They’re citizen scientists, many of them, traveling with digital thermometers, taking temps for Noaa [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]. Many are quick to ask the right questions of us and provide the right information so that we can work together on resilience efforts.”

The question is not if the lobster industry will shift in Maine – but when. Stancioff says the center of Maine’s lobster fishery used to be South Thomaston – but has shifted north to Stonington and Canada. Lobster are also moving further offshore, but that means getting an offshore license and requires a bigger boat and different gear. “Some fishers can’t make that step but still risk going offshore,” Stancioff says.

A Maine lobster boat sets off at dawn on 21 May. Photograph: Robert F Bukaty/AP

She recognizes the financial pressure on the lobstering community. “The older fishermen – when they got started – they probably got a used boat, used gear, started small, worked their way up, did well for themselves,” she says. “But their children – especially if they purchased a new boat or a new house – are in the hot seat. The ability to weather these changes and impacts is tough. Some younger lobstermen are scrambling. Fishing in Alaska in the off season. Working two jobs to pay the bills.”

Furthermore, they are concerned about increased regulations and gear upgrades that come with protecting the right whales in Maine’s waters. “The feeling of unfairness is paramount to them,” Stancioff says. “There’s a lot coming at them. Covid-19 put it over the edge.”

“Climate change is not going away,” Pershing says. “The waters are really warm right now. They’re going to continue to warm. One of the surprising things we found in our model is that lobster decline in Maine until 2050 – and that feels like a manageable decline. But in 2050 you start to see the climate scenarios really separate. A high CO2 world is simply not compatible with a lobster fishery in Maine.”

K rista Tripp, a young lobsterwoman in Sprucehead, is already taking matters into her own hands and started diversifying her business: she practices aquaculture on the side. “I’ve already started to diversify into aquaculture as a safety net,” Tripp told an interviewer in 2019. ‘“I bought an oyster farm and I’m in the process of expanding it.”

But not all coastal communities are welcoming of those innovations. Rural gentrification is prevalent in Maine, which has the country’s highest percentage of second home ownership. These people tend to have nostalgic, romantic views of the landscape and natural resources,” Steven Hedlund of the Global Aquaculture Alliance says.

“Community members and organizations like Maine Sea Grant have been working hard to keep our working waterfronts for the fishing industry, to avoid the gentrification of the coast of Maine,” Stancioff tells me. “Many fishermen have had to move inland due to the taxes and development pressures. Politically speaking, they still hold a lot of value and clout with legislators. However, they’re often left out of the conversation.”

Julie Eaton wants to change that (she ran for the Maine state house of representatives for district 134, but lost in the primary). She sees public service as a way of giving back to a community that supported her during a difficult time.


The new U.S. Climate Normals are here. What do they tell us about climate change?

Every 10 years, NOAA releases an analysis of U.S. weather of the past three decades that calculates average values for temperature, rainfall and other conditions.

Known as the U.S. Climate Normals, these 30-year averages &mdash now spanning 1991-2020 &mdash represent the new &ldquonormals&rdquo of our changing climate. They are calculated using climate observations collected at local weather stations across the country and are corrected for bad or missing values and any changes to the weather station over time before becoming part of the climate record.

Simply stated: The Normals are the basis for judging how daily, monthly and annual climate conditions compare to what&rsquos normal for a specific location in today&rsquos climate.

For the past decade, the Normals have been based on weather observations from 1981 to 2010. In early May, climate experts at NOAA&rsquos National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) issued an updated collection based on the weather occurring from 1991 to 2020. The data set reflects a &ldquonew normal&rdquo that takes the most recent 30 years of climate change-influenced weather and climate conditions into account. (More: See our Climate Normals Explainer.)

A warmer normal

The U.S. Climate Normals collection has 10 versions: 1901-1930, 1911-1940 and so on through 1991-2020. In the image below, we&rsquove compared the U.S. annual average temperature during each Normals period to the 20th-century average (1901-2000). The influence of long-term global warming is obvious: The earliest map in the series has the most widespread and darkest blues, and the most recent map has the most widespread and darkest reds.

A wetter normal?

In the collection of precipitation maps, few places exhibit a precipitation trend that is either steadily wetter or steadily drier than the 20th-century average. Instead, drier areas and wetter areas shift back and forth without an obvious pattern.

And yet, it&rsquos probably not a coincidence that the last four maps in the series &mdash the 1961-1990, 1971-2000, 1981-2010 and 1991-2020 Normals &mdash are nationally the four wettest-looking maps in the collection. At least some of that wetness relative to the 20th-century average is linked to the overall climate warming and &ldquowetting&rdquo of the atmosphere that&rsquos occurred as rising temperatures cause more water to evaporate from the ocean and land surface.

What used to be normal

The 1991-2020 Normals tell us what is normal in today&rsquos climate. NOAA scientists conduct other analyses that tell us about what used to be normal.

For example, In NOAA&rsquos monthly and annual climate monitoring reports, temperature averages and precipitation totals are ranked in the climate record dating to 1895 U.S. and global climate conditions are compared to the 20th-century average.

Visualizing climate is easier now than ever

NCEI has a collection of maps showing both recent and long-term trends in temperature and precipitation. You can also create a custom graph showing monthly, seasonal or yearly climate conditions for any region, state and many cities that shows the long-term trend.

The Normals might be shifting, but NOAA scientists and forecasters aren&rsquot losing track of climate change.


Top 10 Foods That Might Disappear If Temperatures Keep Rising

Some of our favorite foods are crops we're in danger of losing due to climate change&mdashor that may be forced to relocate to new, more hospitable climates.

When people talk about climate change, it&aposs often about rising temperatures and shrinking habitats. But one result that will have the biggest impact on our day-to-day lives is what hotter temperatures mean for food crops. Some of our favorite foods require a certain climate to grow-or, in the case of fish and shellfish, particular water conditions to thrive. Here are 10 things we&aposre at risk of losing, or that may be forced to move to cooler climates. That could have devastating impacts on local economies, and even impact the way the food tastes.

1. Coffee

As the tropics get warmer, coffee bushes become less productive and more susceptible to disease. By 2050, an estimated 50 percent of current coffee-producing land could be unusable.

2. Chocolate

Cacao trees can take the heat, but they don&apost like the dryness that comes along with it. Some chocolate hot spots, like Indonesia and western Africa, are already seeing declines in yield.

3. Wine

Too much heat for too long destroys the acidity of grapes. The resulting wine tastes "cooked." By the end of the century, many celebrated regions, such as Napa Valley, may be too hot to make great wine.

4. Apples

Many apple varieties require a certain number of days of winter chill to produce fruit the following year. In the Northeast alone there are now 8 more frost-free days annually than a century ago.


As Lobsters Decline, Fishermen Switch to Jonah Crab

The lobster industry in southern New England has been on the decline for decades. As waters warm, some lobster fishermen are adapting by switching their catch to Jonah crab, a crustacean once considered a trash species.

Mike Palombo is captain of a 72-foot lobster boat, but his main catch is crabs.

He leaves from the Sandwich Marina for three-day fishing trips, going out over 100 miles to haul traps in the Canyons. One day this fall, he and his crew returned with around 23,000 Jonah crab and 2,000 lobsters in big saltwater holding tanks. "It was a good trip, very productive," he said.

Jonah crab are sturdy, hard-shelled creatures, with black-tipped claws. They’re about a pound apiece. You might not have heard of them, but Jonah crab are sustaining Southern New England fishermen left stranded by the decline of lobsters.

Tracy Pugh, a lobster biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, said there’s been a drop in the lobster population south of the Cape, in part because the water temperature is rising. "The Southern New England lobsters are experiencing the bad aspects of climate change," she said, "because they’re already in the southern extent of their range."

Pugh says the warmer water is causing the lobsters to experience physiological stress. It's also bringing in new diseases that affect lobster, and an uptick in predators like black seabass and tautog.

As lobsters declined, fishermen started filling their traps with this species that was once considered bycatch. In the past decade, Jonah crab landings have tripled, from about 4 million in 2007, to 12 million last year.

Derek Perry, a crab biologist for the Division of Marine Fisheries, says the price of Jonah crab has also doubled over the same time period, from .50 per pound in the mid-2000's, to around $1 per pound today, making it an increasingly viable way for fishermen to make a living.

Now, it’s the fifth largest fishery in the State. It’s bigger than haddock and herring, bringing in over $11 million a year to fishermen. About 90% of the Jonah crab fished in America land on the shores of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Perry said the growing industry is trying to make sure the catch is sustainable. "They basically saw what happened to lobsters in Southern New England, and didn’t want that to happen to Jonah crab," he said. To help sales, and to help ensure the longevity of the fishery, the industry organized a group of stakeholders—
fishermen, processors, dealers, supermarket representatives and scientists—and worked on a plan.

It led to US fishery regulators implementing their first-ever Jonah crab management plan, in 2015. It doesn't include catch limits, but it puts some basic conservation measures in place, like restricting the size and sex of the crabs they can keep.

Dennis Colbert and his brother Robert own two boats that go for Jonah crab, including the one captained by Mike Palombo. He says that making the shift from catching lobsters wasn’t hard. He used the same lobster boats, and catches Jonah crab in the same traps. To target the crabs, he switched around the locations of the vents, and changed the bait.

In some ways, it’s made his life easier. Crabbing trips take just three days, instead of the longer, ten-day trips for lobsters.

The Colberts also own the Fishermen’s View Restaurant and Market, just across the Sandwich Marina, where they sell their catch.

Switching to Jonah crab might have been obvious for fishermen, but hooking diners on a new food takes a different type of creativity.

Scott Robertson is executive chef at Fishermen’s View. Since Jonah crab are coming fresh off the boat, he puts them in everything: crab cakes, crab dip, a crab melt sandwich (instead of a tuna melt), summer crab rolls, crab sushi rolls, crab nachos, crab cocktail claws, even crab ravioli. "Seriously, it's wicked good," he said.

Roberston called Jonah crab meat "super, super, super sweet," and said it beats blue crab for flavor. He hopes one day to see his Jonah crab cakes up there in the Cape Cod classics, right next to fish and chips and lobster rolls.

"I don’t think it’s a species that’s going anywhere," he said. They come in by the boat-full, a couple times a week.

But the fishery is just getting established. There's still a lot we don't know about the Jonah crab. There hasn’t been a stock assessment, so no one knows how many there really are, or what their life cycle is. We don't know when they molt, or where they migrate. And we don’t yet know how the Jonah crab will respond to climate change.

Pien Huang is an environmental reporting fellow with the GroundTruth Project, stationed for six months at WCAI.


Rising ocean temperatures threaten baby lobsters

Credit: University of Maine

If water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine rise a few degrees by end of the century, it could mean trouble for lobsters and the industry they support.

That's according to newly published research conducted at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

The research is the only published study focused on how larvae of the American lobster will be affected by two aspects of climate change—ocean acidification and warming.

The study found that acidification had almost no effect on survival of young lobsters.

But lobster larvae reared in water 3 degrees Celsius higher in temperature, which is predicted by 2100 in the Gulf of Maine, struggled to survive compared to lobster larvae in water that matched current temperatures typical of the western Gulf of Maine.

"They developed twice as fast as they did in the current temperature of 16 C (61 F), and they had noticeably lower survival," says Jesica Waller, a graduate student at the DMC and lead author of the study published this month in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.

"Really only a handful made it to the last larval stage," says Waller. "We noticed it right from the start. We saw more dead larvae in the tank."

Waller also found that acidification can cause changes in larval size and behavior.

"We recognized this could be really important to Maine and may help us understand the future of the lobster industry," says Waller.

"But," she cautions, "these short-term experiments don't account for the possibility that lobster populations may adapt to changing conditions over many generations. We need to do much more research to understand that."

"It's critical to know how climate change will affect the future of our most important fishery," says Rick Wahle, UMaine research professor, Waller's co-adviser and co-author of the paper.

"Last year, Maine harvested nearly half a billion dollars in lobsters. With lobsters now comprising over 80 percent of the state's overall fishery value, Maine's coastal economy is perilously dependent on this single fishery. We only need to look to the die-offs south of Cape Cod to see how climate change is having an impact."

Waller's research began in early June 2015. For two weeks each morning at sunrise, she checked 10 egg-bearing female lobsters at the Darling Marine Center.

"They all began hatching at once," says Waller, who scooped the peppercorn-size hatchlings out of the water with a net, put them in a container and took them to the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in nearby West Boothbay Harbor.

At Bigelow, Waller raised more than 3,000 lobster larvae, from the day they were hatched until the day they grew out of the larval stage, which takes about 30 days in current ocean conditions.

She took measurements daily for a month, assessing their survival rate, development time, length, weight, respiration rate, feeding rate and swimming speed.

"We wanted to do all different types of measurements to provide a basis for our own research and for future work," she says.

Because of the lack of this type of research, before Waller could begin she had to figure out how to run the experiment. So in summer 2014 she conducted a small trial.

The biggest challenge was that baby lobsters like to eat each other. "The cannibalism was hard to understand at first," she says. "We figured out how much space they needed and how much food they needed."

Waller, from Sagamore, Massachusetts, is earning her master's degree in marine biology at the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences and is based at the Darling Marine Center.

She became interested in the research in 2014 while working as a lab technician with co-adviser David Fields at Bigelow.

Fields, a senior research scientist, was doing similar experiments on copepods, a small crustacean that lives in the open ocean.

"How copepods respond to climate change has important consequences for local fisheries in the Gulf of Maine," says Fields.

"Like the lobsters, copepods in the North Atlantic, have seen their populations move northward over the past three decades."

Given the importance of lobsters to the local economy, Fields and Wahle mentioned how useful it would be if someone investigated possible effects of rising ocean temperatures and acidification on lobsters.

Waller decided to take it on, utilizing Fields' ocean acidification system at Bigelow Laboratory and tapping into Wahle's extensive knowledge about lobsters.


If water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine rise a few degrees by end of the century, it could mean trouble for lobsters and the industry they support.

That’s according to newly published research conducted at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

The research is the only published study focused on how larvae of the American lobster will be affected by two aspects of climate change — ocean acidification and warming.

The study found that acidification had almost no effect on survival of young lobsters.

But lobster larvae reared in water 3 degrees Celsius higher in temperature, which is predicted by 2100 in the Gulf of Maine, struggled to survive compared to lobster larvae in water that matched current temperatures typical of the western Gulf of Maine.

“They developed twice as fast as they did in the current temperature of 16 C (61 F), and they had noticeably lower survival,” says Jesica Waller, a graduate student at the DMC and lead author of the study published this month in the “ICES Journal of Marine Science.”

“Really only a handful made it to the last larval stage,” says Waller. “We noticed it right from the start. We saw more dead larvae in the tank.”

Waller also found that acidification can cause changes in larval size and behavior.

“We recognized this could be really important to Maine and may help us understand the future of the lobster industry,” says Waller.

“But,” she cautions, “these short-term experiments don’t account for the possibility that lobster populations may adapt to changing conditions over many generations. We need to do much more research to understand that.”

“It’s critical to know how climate change will affect the future of our most important fishery,” says Rick Wahle, UMaine research professor, Waller’s co-adviser and co-author of the paper.

“Last year, Maine harvested nearly half a billion dollars in lobsters. With lobsters now comprising over 80 percent of the state’s overall fishery value, Maine’s coastal economy is perilously dependent on this single fishery. We only need to look to the die-offs south of Cape Cod to see how climate change is having an impact.”

Waller’s research began in early June 2015. For two weeks each morning at sunrise, she checked 10 egg-bearing female lobsters at the Darling Marine Center.

“They all began hatching at once,” says Waller, who scooped the peppercorn-size hatchlings out of the water with a net, put them in a container and took them to the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in nearby West Boothbay Harbor.

At Bigelow, Waller raised more than 3,000 lobster larvae, from the day they were hatched until the day they grew out of the larval stage, which takes about 30 days in current ocean conditions.

She took measurements daily for a month, assessing their survival rate, development time, length, weight, respiration rate, feeding rate and swimming speed.

“We wanted to do all different types of measurements to provide a basis for our own research and for future work,” she says.

Because of the lack of this type of research, before Waller could begin she had to figure out how to run the experiment. So in summer 2014 she conducted a small trial.

The biggest challenge was that baby lobsters like to eat each other. “The cannibalism was hard to understand at first,” she says. “We figured out how much space they needed and how much food they needed.”

Waller, from Sagamore, Massachusetts, is earning her master’s degree in marine biology at the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences and is based at the Darling Marine Center.

She became interested in the research in 2014 while working as a lab technician with co-adviser David Fields at Bigelow.

Fields, a senior research scientist, was doing similar experiments on copepods, a small crustacean that lives in the open ocean.

“How copepods respond to climate change has important consequences for local fisheries in the Gulf of Maine,” says Fields.

“Like the lobsters, copepods in the North Atlantic, have seen their populations move northward over the past three decades.”

Given the importance of lobsters to the local economy, Fields and Wahle mentioned how useful it would be if someone investigated possible effects of rising ocean temperatures and acidification on lobsters.

Waller decided to take it on, utilizing Fields’ ocean acidification system at Bigelow Laboratory and tapping into Wahle’s extensive knowledge about lobsters.


The Top 100 Effects of Global Warming

Say Goodbye to French Wines
Wacky temperatures and rain cycles brought on by global warming are threatening something very important: Wine. Scientists believe global warming will &ldquoshift viticultural regions toward the poles, cooler coastal zones and higher elevations.&rdquo What that means in regular language: Get ready to say bye-bye to French Bordeaux and hello to British champagne. [LA Times]

Say Goodbye to Light and Dry Wines
Warmer temperatures mean grapes in California and France develop their sugars too quickly, well before their other flavors. As a result, growers are forced to either a) leave the grapes on the vines longer, which dramatically raises the alcoholic content of the fruit or b) pick the grapes too soon and make overly sweet wine that tastes like jam. [Washington Post]

Say Goodbye to Pinot Noir
The reason you adore pinot noir is that it comes from a notoriously temperamental thin-skinned grape that thrives in cool climates. Warmer temperatures are already damaging the pinots from Oregon , &ldquobaking away&rdquo the grape&rsquos berry flavors. [Bloomberg]

Say Goodbye to Baseball
The future of the ash tree&mdashfrom which all baseball bats are made&mdashis in danger of disappearing, thanks to a combination of killer beetles and global warming. [NY Times]

Say Goodbye to Christmas Trees
The Pine Bark Beetle, which feeds on and kills pine trees, used to be held in control by cold winter temperatures. Now the species is thriving and killing off entire forests in British Columbia , unchecked. [Seattle Post Intelligencer]

Say Goodbye to the Beautiful Alaska Vacation
Warmer weather allowed Spruce Bark Beetles to live longer, hardier lives in the forests of Kenai Peninsula in Alaska , where they killed off a section of spruce forest the size of Connecticut . [Alaska Science Forum]

Say Goodbye to Fly Fishing
As water temperatures continue to rise, researchers say rainbow trout, "already at the southern limits&rdquo of their temperature ranges in the Appalachian mountains , could disappear there over the next century. [Softpedia]

Say Goodbye to Ski Competitions
Unusually warmer winters caused the International Ski Federation to cancel last year&rsquos Alpine skiing World Cup and opening races in Sölden , Austria . Skiers are also hard-pressed now to find places for year-round training. Olympic gold medalist Anja Paerson: &ldquoOf course we&rsquore all very worried about the future of our sport. Every year we have more trouble finding places to train.&rdquo [NY Times]

Say Goodbye to Ski Vacations
Slopes on the East Coast last year closed months ahead of time due to warmer weather, some losing as much as a third of their season. [Washington Post]

Say Hello to Really Tacky Fake Ski Vacations
Weiner Air Force and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey are building a year-round ski resort in Texas, with &ldquowet, white Astroturf with bristles&rdquo standing in for snow to make up for all the closed resorts around the country. [WSJ]

Say Goodbye to That Snorkeling Vacation
The elkhorn coral which used to line the floor of the Caribbean are nearly gone, &ldquovictims of pollution, warmer water and acidification from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide seeping into oceans.&rdquo [Denver Post]

Say Goodbye to That Tropical Island Vacation
Indonesia ‘s environment minister announced this year that scientific studies estimate about 2,000 of the country’s lush tropical islands could disappear by 2030 due to rising sea levels. [ABC News]

Say Goodbye to Cool Cultural Landmarks
The World Monuments Fund recently added &ldquoglobal warming&rdquo as a threat in their list of the top 100 threatened cultural landmarks. &ldquoOn Herschel Island, Canada, melting permafrost threatens ancient Inuit sites and a historic whaling town. In Chinguetti , Mauritania , the desert is encroaching on an ancient mosque. In Antarctica , a hut once used by British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott has survived almost a century of freezing conditions but is now in danger of being engulfed by increasingly heavy snows.&rdquo [AP]

Say Goodbye to Salmon Dinners
Get ready for a lot more chicken dinners: Wild pacific salmon have already vanished from 40 percent of their traditional habitats in the Northwest and the NRDC warns warmer temperatures are going to erase 41 percent of their habitat by 2090. [ENS]

Say Goodbye to Lobster Dinners
Lobsters thrive in the chilly waters of New England, but recent numbers show that as those waters have warmed up, &ldquothe big-clawed American lobster&mdashprized for its delicate, sweet flesh&mdashhas been withering at an alarming rate from New York state to Massachusetts .&rdquo [AP]

Say Goodbye to Discoveries of Sharks That Can Walk
Scientists recently revealed a &ldquolost world&rdquo of marine life off the coast of Indonesia , including 20 new species of corals, 8 species of shrimp, a technicolor fish that &ldquoflashes&rdquo bright pink, yellow, blue, and green hues, and sharks that &ldquowalk&rdquo on their fins. (&ldquo Avon Lady. Candygram.&rdquo) However, marine biologists warn the threats posed by global warming means millions of other crazycool sea creatures may become extinct before we ever discover them. [ABC]

Say Goodbye to Meadows of Wildflowers
Scientists think global warming could wipe out a fifth of the wildflower species in the western United States . They&rsquoll be replaced by dominant grasses. [National Wildlife Federation]

Say Goodbye to Guacamole
Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory predict hotter temps will cause a 40 percent drop in California &rsquos avocado production over the next 40 years. [Lawrence Livermore National Lab]

Say Goodbye to Mixed Nuts
Guess you&rsquoll have to start eating pretzels at the bar instead: Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory predict hotter temps will cause a 20 percent drop in California &rsquos almond and walnut crops over the next 40 years. [Science Daily]

Say Goodbye to French Fries
Scientists from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research say warmer temperatures are killing off wild relatives of potato and peanut plants, &ldquothreatening a valuable source of genes necessary to help these food crops fight pests and drought.&rdquo [AP]

Say Goodbye to Your Pretty Lawn
Thanks to global warming, dandelions will grow &ldquotaller, lusher, and more resilient.&rdquo By 2100, the weed will produce 32 percent more seeds and longer hairs, which allow them to spread further in the wind. [LA Times]

Say Hello to More Mosquitoes
Get ready for more mosquitoes. Mosquitoes like to live in drains and sewer puddles. During long dry spells (brought on by higher temperatures) these nasty, stagnant pools become a vital source of water for thirsty birds … which provide a tasty feast for the resident mosquitoes. At the same time, these dry spells &ldquoreduce the populations of dragonflies, lacewings, and frogs that eat the mosquitoes.&rdquo [Washington Post]

Say Hello to Poison Ivy
You&rsquore gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion. Increased CO2 levels cause poison ivy and other weeds to grow &ldquotaller, lusher, and more resilient.&rdquo [LA Times]

Say Hello to Bulgarian Hooker Shortages
&ldquoBrothel owners in Bulgaria are blaming global warming for staff shortages. They claim their best girls are working in ski resorts because a lack of snow has forced tourists to seek other pleasures.&rdquo [Metro UK]

Global Warming Kills the Animals

Species Disappear
The latest report from the World Conservation Union says that a minimum of 40 percent of the world&rsquos species are being threatened … and global warming&rsquos one of the main culprits. [Reuters]

Cannibalistic Polar Bears…
As longer seasons without ice keep polar bears away from food, they start eating each other. [AP]

…And Dying Polar Bears
A recent study completed by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that cannibalism&mdashwhile brutal&mdashmay be the least of the bear&rsquos problems. Many are also drowning, unable to swim in the increased spaces between melting sea ice. Two-thirds of them may be gone by 2050. [National Geographic] [Mongo Bay]

More Bear Attacks
Earlier this year, Moscow warned its citizens to beware of brown bear attacks. In Russia , it&rsquos been too hot in the winter for bears to sleep. When bears can&rsquot hibernate, they get very grouchy and become &ldquounusually aggressive.&rdquo[Der Spiegel]

Dying Gray Whales
Save the whales! Global warming is thwarting majestic gray whales&rsquo struggle to recover from their endangered status. In recent years, more gray whales have been washing up on beaches after starving to death. Culprit: Rising ocean temps, which are killing off their food supply. [Washington Post]

Death March of the Penguins
Scientists blame global warming for the declining penguin population, as warmer waters and smaller ice floes force the birds to travel further to find food. &ldquoEmperor penguins … have dropped from 300 breeding pairs to just nine in the western Antarctic Peninsula .&rdquo [National Geographic] [MSNBC]

Farewell to Frogs
An estimated two-thirds of the 110 known species of harlequin frog in Central and South America have vanished since the 1980s due to the outbreak of a deadly frog fungus … brought on by global warming. Scientist J. Allen Pound: "Disease is the bullet killing frogs, but climate change is pulling the trigger.&rdquo [National Geographic]

Farewell to the Arctic Fox
The White Arctic Fox used to rule the colder climes, but as temperatures warm up, its more aggressive cousin, the Red Fox, is moving North and taking over. [Wired]

Farewell to the Walrus
Walrus pups rest on sea ice while their mothers hunt for food. A new study shows more and more abandoned pups are being stranded on floating islands as ice islands melt. Also, sadly, mother walruses are abandoning them to follow the ice further north. [Mongo Bay]

Farewell to Cute Koala Bears
Australia &rsquos Climate Action Network reports that higher temperatures are killing off eucalyptus trees while higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are decreasing the nutritional value of the eucalyptus leaves Koala bears eat. They warn that the cute furry creatures could become extinct in the next few decades. [Science]

Jellyfish Attack
Ouch! At least 30,000 people were stung by jellyfish along the Mediterranean coast last year some areas boasted more than 10 jellyfish per square foot of water. Thank global warming: Jellyfish generally stay out of the way of swimmers, preferring the warmer, saltier water of the open seas. Hotter temperatures erase the natural temperature barrier between the open sea and the shore. The offshore waters also become more saline, causing the stinging blobs of hurt to move in toward the coastlines (and your unsuspecting legs). [BBC]

Giant Squid Attack
Giant squid&mdashan &ldquoaggressive predator&rdquo that grows up to 7 feet long and can weigh more than 110 lbs&mdashused to only be found in the warm waters along the Pacific equator. Hotter waters mean today they&rsquore invading the waters of California and even Alaska . [ABC]

Homeless Sheep, Goats, and Bears
Bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and grizzly bears are becoming homeless, due to the disappearance of the alpine meadows in Glacier National Park . [AP]

Homeless Deer and Marsh Rabbits
The deer and marsh rabbits in the Florida Keys also face a housing crisis, as water levels rise and warmer temperatures destroy coastal prairies and freshwater marsh habitats. [AP]

Gender-Bended Lizards
Scientists in Australia found warmer temperatures caused baby bearded dragon lizards to change from males to females while still in their eggs, making it harder for them to find mates. Trippy. [ABC AU]

More Stray Kitties
Global warming has extended the cat-breeding season beyond spring, which is the usual time for a kitten boom. The kittens are often homeless and end up in animal shelters. And remember, &ldquoThe trouble with a kitten is that/ Eventually it becomes a cat.&rdquo [NBC-10: Philadelphia] [Ogden Nash]

Suffocating the Lemmings
Lemmings like to burrow under the snow when they hibernate for the winter. Warmer temperatures cause rain to fall during the winter months, where it freezes into a hard sheet of ice above the sleeping lemmings, who can&rsquot crack their way out come spring. [Denver Post]

Goodbye to Cod
Cod in the North Sea are dying out. The warmer waters kill off the plankton the cod eat, making those ones that survive smaller. The warmer waters also mean the poor dears have become &ldquoless successful at mating and reproducing.&rdquo [MSNBC]

Birds around the World
Recent research found that &ldquoup to 72 percent of bird species in northeastern Australia and more than a third in Europe could go extinct due to global warming.&rdquo [Monga Bay]

Birds on the Coast
Hundreds of Pacific seabirds&mdashsuch as common murres, auklets, and tufted puffins &mdash washed ashore last year after starving to death. Scientists blame global warming which led to less plankton, which led to fewer small fish for the birds to eat. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Birds in your Backyard
A report by the National Audubon Society found that birds such as the bobwhite and field sparrow are dying thanks to global warming, as higher temperatures mess with their migration schedules. With vital food stocks peaking earlier and earlier, many migratory birds get to the party too late and can&rsquot find enough to eat. [CNN] [ABC News]

Death to a Snail
The Aldabra banded snail is officially extinct. Existing only on an atoll 426 kilometers northwest of the northern tip of Madagascar , the snail died out after warmer weather cut the rainfall in its habitat. [Monga Bay]

Global Warming Kills the Planet

Greenland&rsquos Melting
Greenland is melting at a rate of 52 cubic miles per year&mdashmuch faster than once predicted. If Greenland &rsquos entire 2.5 million cubic kilometers of ice were to melt, it would lead to a global sea level rise of 7.2 meters, or more than 23 feet. [LA Times]

Less Ice in the Arctic
The amount of ice in the Arctic at the end of the 2005 summer &ldquowas the smallest seen in 27 years of satellite imaging, and probably the smallest in 100 years.&rdquo Experts said it&rsquos the strongest evidence of global warming in the Arctic thus far. [Washington Post]

The Northwest Passage Becomes a Reality
Remember the &ldquo Northwest Passage &rdquo? For centuries, explorers were obsessed with the almost-mythical idea of northern sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific. Well…it&rsquos here. So much of the ice cover in the Arctic disappeared this summer that ships were able to take recreational trips through the Arctic Sea , and scientists say so much of the ice cover will disappear in upcoming years that the passage could be open to commercial shipping by 2020. [CNN]

Ice Shelf in Antarctica Bites the Dust
In 2002, a chunk of ice in Antarctica larger than the state of Rhode Island collapsed into the sea. British and Belgian scientists said the chunk was weakened by warm winds blowing over the shelf … and that the winds were caused by global warming. [ENS]

Ice Shelf in Canada Bites the Dust
In 2005, a giant chunk of ice the size of Manhattan broke off of a Canadian ice shelf and began free floating westward, putting oil drilling operations in peril. [Reuters]

Say Farewell to Glaciers
&ldquoIn Glacier National Park , the number of glaciers in the park has dropped from 150 to 26 since 1850. Some project that none will be left within 25 to 30 years.&rdquo [AP]

The Green, Green Grass of Antarctica
Grass has started to grow in Antarctica in areas formerly covered by ice sheets and glaciers. While Antarctic hair grass has grown before in isolated tufts, warmer temperatures allow it to take over larger and larger areas and, for the first time, survive through the winter. [UK Times]

The Swiss Foothills
Late last summer, a rock the size of two Empire State Buildings in the Swiss Alps collapsed onto the canyon floor nearly 700 feet below. The reason? Melting glaciers. [MSNBC]

Giant &ldquo Sand Seas &rdquo in Africa
Global warming may unleash giant &ldquosand seas&rdquo in Africa &mdashgiant fields of sand dunes with no vegetation&mdashas a shortage of rainfall and increasing winds may &ldquoreactivate&rdquo the now-stable Kalahari dune fields. That means farewell to local vegetation, animals, and any tourism in the areas. [National Geographic]

Florida &rsquos National Marine Sanctuary in Trouble
Global warming is &ldquobleaching&rdquo the coral in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, killing the coral, tourism, and local fish that live among the coral for protection. [Washington Post]

The Oceans are Turning to Acid
It sounds like a really bad sci-fi movie, but it&rsquos true: The oceans are turning to acid! Oceans absorb CO2 which, when mixed with seawater, turns to a weak carbonic acid. Calcium from eroded rocks creates a &ldquonatural buffer&rdquo against the acid, and most marine life is &ldquofinely tuned&rdquo to the current balance. As we produce more and more CO2, we throw the whole balance out of whack and the oceans turn to acid. [CS Monitor]

Say Goodbye to the Great Barrier Reef
According to the U.N., the Great Barrier Reef will disappear within decades as &ldquowarmer, more acidic seas could severely bleach coral in the world-famous reef as early as 2030.&rdquo [CBC News]

Mediterranean Sea ? Try the Dead Sea .
Italian experts say thanks to faster evaporation and rising temperatures, the Mediterranean Sea is quickly turning into &ldquoa salty and stagnant sea.&rdquo The hot, salty water &ldquocould doom many of the sea’s plant and animal species and ravage the fishing industry.&rdquo [AP]

A Sacred River Dries Up
The sacred Ganges River in India is beginning to run dry. The Ganges is fed by the Gangotri glacier, which is today &ldquoshrinking at a rate of 40 yards a year, nearly twice as fast as two decades ago.&rdquo Scientists warn the glacier could be gone as soon as 2030. [Washington Post]

Disappearing African Rivers
Geologists recently projected a 10 percent to 20 percent drop in rainfall in northwestern and southern Africa by 2070. That would leave Botswana with just 23 percent of the river it has now Cape Town would be left with just 42 percent of its river water. [National Geographic]

Suddenly Vanishing Lakes
What happened to the five-acre glacial lake in Southern Chile ? In March, it was there. In May, it was … gone. Scientists blame global warming. [BBC News]

Goodbye to the Mangrove Trees
Next on the global warming hit list: Rising sea levels linked to climate change mean we could lose half of the mangrove trees of the Pacific Isles by the end of the century. [UNEP]

Volcanoes Blow Their Tops
British scientists warn of another possible side effect of climate change: A surge of dangerous volcanic eruptions. [ABC News Australia]

More Hurricanes
Over the past century, the number of hurricanes that strike each year has more than doubled. Scientists blame global warming and the rising temperature of the surface of the seas. [USA Today]

More Floods
During the summer of 2007, Britain suffered its worst flood in 60 years. Scientists point the finger directly at global warming, which changed precipitation patterns and is now causing more &ldquointense rainstorms across parts of the northern hemisphere.&rdquo [Independent]

More Fires
Hotter temperatures could also mean larger and more devastating wildfires. This past summer in California , a blaze consumed more than 33,500 acres, or 52 square miles.
[ABC] [AP]

More Wildfires
Global warming has also allowed non-native grasses to thrive in the Mojave Desert , where they act as fast-burning fuel for wildfires. [AP]

Thunderstorms Get Dangerous
Hurricanes aside, NASA scientists now say as the world gets hotter, even smaller thunderstorms will pose more severe risks with &ldquodeadly lightning, damaging hail and the potential for tornadoes.&rdquo [AP]

Higher Sea Levels
Scientists believe sea levels will be three feet higher by the end of the century than they are now. [National Geographic]

Burning Poo
As &ldquo shifting rainfall patterns&rdquo brought on by global warming &ldquohave made northern Senegal drier and hotter,&rdquo entire species of trees (like the Dimb Tree) are dying out , making it harder for natives to find firewood. As a result, more people are having to burn cow dung for cooking fires. [MSNBC]

A New Dust Bowl
Calling Mr. Steinbeck. Scientists this year reported the Southwest United States is "expected to dry up notably in this century and could become as arid as the North American dust bowl of the 1930s," a process which has already started. [ABC News]

Global Warming Makes Us Sicker

People Are Dying
150,000: Number of people the World Health Organization estimates are killed by climate-change-related issues every year. [Washington Post]

Heat Waves and Strokes
Authorities in China say warmer temperatures are responsible for an uptick in heat-wave associated deaths, such as strokes and heart disease. They calculated between 173 and 685 Chinese citizens per million die every year from ailments related to global warming. [MSNBC]

Death by Smog
Three words you really don&rsquot want in your obit: &ldquoDeath by Smog.&rdquo Yet Canadian doctors say smog-related deaths could rise by 80 percent over the next 20 years. And since warm air is a key ingredient in smog, warmer temperatures will increase smog levels. [CBC News]

More Heart Attacks
Doctors warn global warming will bring more cardiovascular problems, like heart attacks. &ldquo&lsquoThe hardening of the heart’s arteries is like rust developing on a car,&rsquo said Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University . &lsquoRust develops much more quickly at warm temperatures and so does atherosclerosis.&rsquo&rdquo [MSNBC]

More Mold and Ragweed = More Allergies, Asthma
A Harvard Study in 2004 showed higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere is good news to allergens like mold and ragweed (they love the stuff). And that means higher rates of asthma attacks, especially in kids. [Globe and Mail]

A Resurgence In Deadly Disease
&ldquoThe World Health Organization has identified more than 30 new or resurgent diseases in the last three decades, the sort of explosion some experts say has not happened since the Industrial Revolution brought masses of people together in cities.&rdquo Why? Global warming &ldquois fueling the spread of epidemics in areas unprepared for the diseases&rdquo when &ldquomosquitoes, ticks, mice and other carriers are surviving warmer winters and expanding their range, bringing health threats with them.&rdquo Ick. [Washington Post]

More Malaria in Africa
&ldquoA WHO report in 2000 found that warming had caused malaria to spread from three districts in western Kenya to 13 and led to epidemics of the disease in Rwanda and Tanzania .&rdquo [Washington Post]

Malaria Spreading in Western Europe
The World Health Organization warns warmer temperatures mean malaria-carrying mosquitoes are able to live in northern climes, which could lead to a surge in malaria outside the tropics (aka Europe ). [BBC]

Malaria Spreading in South America
Thanks to global warming, &ldquoMalaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level.&rdquo [An Inconvenient Truth]

Malaria Spreading in Russia
Russians found larvae of the anopheles mosquito, the malaria carrier, for the first time in Moscow last September. [BBC]

Spread of Dengue Fever
Scientists predict warmer temperatures will allow mosquitoes carrying Dengue Fever to travel outside the tropics. Since people in cooler climes lack immunity from previous exposure, that means transmission would be extensive. You get a severe fever, you start spontaneously bleeding, you can die. There is no vaccine. [Science Daily]

Death in the Time of Cholera
Cholera, which thrives in warmer water, appeared in the newly warmed waters of South America in 1991 for the first time in the 20th century. &ldquoIt swept from Peru across the continent and into Mexico , killing more than 10,000 people.&rdquo [Washington Post]

Spread of Lyme Disease
Cold weather no longer kills ticks that carry Lyme Disease. Ticks recently began spreading along the coastlines of Scandinavia , which formerly was too cold for them to survive. Cases of Lyme Disease in the area have doubled since the late 1990s. [MSNBC]

West Nile Virus Home Invasion
Once confined to land near the equator, West Nile Virus is now found as far north as Canada . Seven years ago, West Nile virus had never been seen in North America today, it has &ldquoinfected more than 21,000 people in the United States and Canada and killed more than 800.&rdquo [Washington Post]

Global Warming Threatens Our National Security

IISS: &ldquoA Global Catastrophe&rdquo For International Security
A recent study done by the International Institute for Strategic Studies has likened the international security effects of global warming to those caused by nuclear war. [On Deadline]

U.N.: As Dangerous As War
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this year that global warming poses as much of a threat to the world as war. [BBC]

Center for Naval Analyses: National Security Threat
In April, a report completed by the Center for Naval Analyses predicted that global warming would cause &ldquolarge-scale migrations, increased border tensions, the spread of disease and conflicts over food and water.&rdquo [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Genocide in Sudan
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon charges, &ldquoAmid the diverse social and political causes, the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change.&rdquo [Washington Post]

War in Somalia
In April, a group of 11 former U.S. military leaders released a report charging that the war in Somalia during the 1990s stemmed in part from national resource shortages caused by global warming. [Washington Post]

Starvation
A study by IISS found that reduced water supplies and hotter temperatures mean &ldquo65 countries were likely to lose over 15 percent of their agricultural output by 2100.&rdquo [Yahoo]

Large-Scale Migrations
Global warming will turn already-dry environments into deserts, causing the people who live there to migrate in massive numbers to more livable places. [MSNBC]

More Refugees
A study by the relief group Christian Aid estimates the number of refugees around the world will top a billion by 2050, thanks in large part to global warming. [Telegraph]

Increased Border Tensions
A report called &ldquoNational Security and the Threat of Climate Change,&rdquo written by a group of retired generals and admirals, specifically linked global warming to increased border tensions. &ldquo If, as some project, sea levels rise, human migrations may occur, likely both within and across borders.&rdquo [NY Times]

Famine
&ldquoDeveloping countries, many with average temperatures that are already near or above crop tolerance levels, are predicted to suffer an average 10 to 25 percent decline in agricultural productivity by the 2080s.&rdquo [Economic Times]

Droughts
Global warming will cause longer, more devastating droughts, thus exacerbating the fight over the world&rsquos water. [Washington Post]

The Poor Are Most at Risk
Although they produce low amounts of greenhouse gases, experts say under-developed countries&mdashsuch as those in sub-Saharan Africa &mdashhave &ldquothe most to lose under dire predictions of wrenching change in weather patterns.&rdquo [Washington Post]

Your Checkbook
A report done last year by the British government showed global warming could cause a Global Great Depression, costing the world up to 20 percent of its annual Global Domestic Product. [Washington Post]

The World&rsquos Checkbook
A study by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University found that ignoring global warming would end up costing $20 trillion by 2100. [Tufts]

This piece is from the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Mic Check Radio.


Surprising solutions

It was the lack of climate change solutions that inspired the founding of Project Drawdown in 2014. Set up to “uncover the most substantive solutions to stop climate change, and to communicate them to the world.” Their vision is a refreshingly positive one: Stopping global warming, they say, “is possible, and with solutions that already exist.” In 2017, ‘Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming’, was released. A comprehensive solutions table was compiled, based on reducing rising temperatures by 2100 to 2ºC and the less impactful 1.5ºC, which should be the minimum target of our collective efforts

Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps, empowering women tops the chart of solutions. Family planning coupled with educating girls (could together prevent 120 gigatons of GHGs by 2050, more than on and offshore wind combined), specifically in developing nations, “is one of the most powerful levers available for avoiding emissions by curbing population growth”. It has high community benefits as well educated women are unlikely to marry young or enter into forced marriages, and access to family planning enables them to decide when to have children and to have less. “They have lower incidence of HIV/AIDS and malaria. Their agricultural plots are more productive and their families better nourished.” In addition, they are more resilient and resourceful and are better able to deal with the impacts of climate change. As the co-founder of Drawdown, Paul Hawken put it, the answer to climate change is — “not a solar panel it’s a woman.”

Another major area of GHG emissions Drawdown discusses, and one that we can all act on, is food waste and the environmental and health benefits of adopting plant rich diets. Roughly a third of the world’s food is wasted, — approximately1.3 billion tons a year. This in a world where an estimated 800 million people are hungry or malnourished. Not only would reducing food waste be good for the planet is could help end hunger figures from the UN Environment (UNE) reveal that: “If just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people.”

Wastage in developing countries is mainly unintentional, food rotting on farms or during distribution for lack of refrigeration. Improvements in storage, processing and transportation are needed, all of which developed nations could provide. In wealthier nations food is thrown away by consumers, supermarkets and restaurants. This can easily change national/international public awareness campaigns and the establishment of national food-waste targets would help shift behavior.

Then there’s animal agriculture, which, in addition to a range of other environmentally destructive impacts, is a major source of GHG emissions (mostly from dairy and meat production). Drawdown note that, “If cows were their own country, they would be the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.” Research shows that eating a diet free from animal produce is the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact (cutting emissions by up to 70%) it’s also a healthier way to live.

Solutions to global warming do exist, but they need to be implemented and the pervasive complacency overcome with coordinated, consistent action. If temperature increase is to be limited to 1.5ºC by 2100, the IPCC state that emissions must “decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050.” Given the fact that GHG emissions continue to rise this requires urgent coordinated action: large scale investment in renewable sources of energy drastically reducing consumption and tackling inequality reforesting moving away from industrial-scale animal agriculture and curbing population growth — brought about by empowering girls through education and access to family planning.

For any of this to happen and at the needed pace, the crisis, which is the greatest test humanity has ever faced, must be approached as an international state or emergency. Overseen by the UN Environment agency national governments together with big business, must lead the way and be pressurized to do so by an aware responsible public. The house, our house is literally burning, and, despite millions of people screaming for change, the behavior, and ways of living that ignited the fire continue unabated. If action isn’t taken now, much like the death of a neglected parent or friend, time will run out, and no matter how loud the cry, it will be too late to express the love we always said we felt but rarely displayed and were not prepared to sacrifice anything for.


Watch the video: Μεγάλος ψαρασ από τον αστακο (July 2022).


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