Warm February Temperatures Indicate Climate Change

While many have enjoyed the warm weather this February, the U.S. Geological Survey said the warmer weather is a key indicator in climate change.

The USGS shared a news analysis from the USA National Phenology Network showing that an early spring has arrived in the Southeast. The analysis relies on a “spring index,” which shows when plants begin to bloom.

The study compared this year’s temperatures to previous years temperatures, and the analysis found that some cities have seen an unusually early arrival of spring. In Washington, D.C., spring arrived 22 days earlier than previous years, according to the news analysis.

While an early spring may sound nice, it can have serious consequences on agriculture if it is followed by a freeze. An entire crop, which has already started to grow from an early spring, could be wiped out if it freezes, according to Jake Weltzin, executive director of the USA-National Phenology Network and an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, which helped fund the project.

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Map from the USA National Phenology Network, which shows the spring index, from the news analysis.

 

Pruitt and the Environmental Protection Agency Clash on Course of Action

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is known for having a hostile relationship with the EPA, which raises questions about his new administrative duties with the agency.

Former Bush administration EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman told NPR she was skeptical of his relationship with EPA and what the future holds for the new administration.

“He seems to have a level of distrust that is unusual coming into an agency, because it doesn’t necessarily bode well for good relations with the career staff who are there, with whom you have to work and you need to get things done,” she said.

Pruitt plans to remove the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which is focused on lowering the United States’ carbon footprint, but it will not be an easy task since the EPA has expressed their opposition to his plans.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt confirmed as the next EPA administrator.

Antarctic Ice Core Might Provide Insight Into Future Climate Change Patterns

Japanese scientists have observed nearly 800,000 years worth of climate history from an ice core sample.

Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research extracted a two-mile-long ice core from an Antarctic ridge. The sample will provide scientists with insight into the Earth’s climate history, and it will also give scientists a glimpse at future climate change patterns.

“In projecting climate change, we’re going into unknown territory,” said Tom Delworth, a geophysicist at Princeton University who wasn’t involved in the study. “The more we understand how the past works — because the past had very different climates — that gives us better confidence in projecting into the future.”

The ice layers can tell scientists about the environmental conditions from when the ice sheets formed. If there is dust present, it tells the scientist there were dry and windy spells, and the molecular composition indicates whether the sheet of ice formed during a warm or cold spell.

By observing the Earth’s climate history, scientists are able to narrow their predictions about the future.

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Scientist observe an ice core extracted from an Antarctic Ridge. Photo provided by the British Antarctic Survey.

EPA Website Reflects Trump’s Climate Change Agenda

Shortly after taking office, President Trump ordered a temporary media blackout for the Environmental Protection Agency while stopping the agency from awarding new contracts or grants. Now, the Trump administration has begun altering the EPA website to reflect its climate change agenda.

A report from the nonprofit Environmental Data and Governance Initiative stated, the report found that there were several potentially significant changes to the EPA’s climate change section on a portion of the agency’s website that focuses on federal partner collaborations. Most telling is a title change, from “Federal Partner Collaboration” to “EPA Adaptation Collaboration.”

This title change signifies that Trump is not embracing climate change mitigation, but instead he is taking an adaptation approach to climate change. Climate change mitigation is when action is taken to reduce the long-term risks and hazards of climate change, where as, adaption is simply adjusting to the already existing condition. With this approach, there will be repercussions to come, and this is only one of the many changes listed in the article.

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Changes made to EPA website. Photo provided by Yahoo. Follow the story link to find more pictures about the changes in the EPA website.