July 2018 Climate Science Round-Up

Our Climate Science Round-Ups are a compilation of recent news about climate science. In this edition, we pull articles from NPR, The Guardian, and The Washington Post about major crops losing nutrients, the devastating lasting effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and global temperatures potentially doubling from predicted models.


As Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise, Major Crops are Losing Nutrients
NPR; July 19, 2018

“Plants need carbon dioxide to live, but its effects on them are complicated. As the level of carbon dioxide in the air continues to rise because of human activity, scientists are trying to pin down how the plants we eat are being affected. Mounting evidence suggests that many key plants lose nutritional value at higher CO2levels, and scientists are running experiments all over the world to try to tease out the effects.”


Racing to Save Florida’s Coral from Climate Change, Scientists turn to a Once-Unthinkable Strategy; ‘Assisted Evolution’
LA Times; July 9, 2018

“In a hurricane-proof lab miles down the Florida Keys, scientists coddle, the way a parent might, tiny pieces of coral from the moment they are spawned until they are just hearty enough to be separated into specimens equipped to survive in the wild. Then these dark-green fragments are put through misery, plunged into tanks mimicking the hotter, more acidic waters projected to one day overtake the tropical region. Many coral samples will die, but those that endure the hostile testing will be painstakingly transplanted back in the Atlantic.”


Record Heat Put Thousands of Californians in the Dark Friday. Scientists Predicted this from Climate Change
The Washington Post; July 9, 2018

“Temperatures shot up over 110 degrees in Southern California on Friday, obliterating all kinds of long-standing heat records, and the lights went out for tens of thousands of customers. Californians were powerless, without air conditioning, in the hottest weather many had ever experienced. Climate scientists have known this was coming, and it may only be the beginning.’We studied this a long time ago . . . now our projections are becoming reality,’ tweeted Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University.”


Global Temperature Rises Could Be Double Those Predicted By Climate Modeling
The Guardian; July 06, 2018

“Temperature rises as a result of global warming could eventually be double what has been projected by climate models, according to an international team of researchers from 17 countries. Sea levels could also rise by six metres or more even if the world does meet the 2 degree target of the Paris accord. The findings, published last week in Nature Geoscience, were based on observations of evidence from three warm periods in the past 3.5m years in which global temperatures were 0.5-2 degrees above the pre-industrial temperatures of the 19th century. The researchers say they increase the urgency with which countries need to address their emissions.”


Deepwater Horizon Disaster Altered Building Blocks of Ocean Life
The Guardian; June 28, 2018

“Oil spill disaster reduced biodiversity in sites closest to spill, report finds, as White House rolls back conservation measures. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster may have had a lasting impact upon even the smallest organisms in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have found – amid warnings that the oceans around America are also under fresh assault as a result of environmental policies under Donald Trump. Lingering oil residues have altered the basic building blocks of life in the ocean by reducing biodiversity in sites closest to the spill, which occurred when a BP drilling rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing about 4m barrels of oil into the Gulf.”


Flaws in the Baker-Schultz Carbon Tax Plan
Clean Technica; June 25, 2018

“Since retiring from the Congress, former Senators Trent Lott, a conservative Republican from Mississippi, and John Breaux, a conservative Democrat from Louisiana, have spent many years as oil industry lobbyists. That being the case, it clearly came as a surprise to many people that they put together a political action committee (PAC) to support a carbon tax. I have to admit that I was intrigued when I saw an article in Vox, “Energy lobbyists have a new PAC to push for a carbon tax. Wait, What?’