Climate Risk: Sweeping effects on every continent

From the New York Times on March 20, 2014:

Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that the problem is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.

The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.

And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty. In particular, the report emphasized that the world’s food supply is at considerable risk — a threat that could have serious consequences for the poorest nations.

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Additional climate reports

Logging Co-Teaching Credit in Banner

Getting credit for co-teaching or co-advising is a persistent challenge for university faculty members involved in interdisciplinary work. Even when you split a project 50-50 with a collaborator, both of you spend more than half of the time you’d spend on a solo project coordinating, communicating, and building consensus across disciplinary norms. This is certainly a “wicked” problem that is in need of a long-term, interdisciplinary solution. In the mean time, I wanted to post instructions for logging co-teaching credit as percentages in the Banner system that Virginia Tech uses. These instructions are courtesy of Renee Selberg-Eaton, Undergraduate Program Director and Instructor in VT’s Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise:

1.       Banner screen: SZASECD

2.       Enter the term and CRN for the course.  (Example: 201401 CRN 20005)

3.       Next Block to Meeting Times and Instructor

4.       Click in the ID box for the first instructor and enter their ID number if it’s not already entered.

5.       Tab over and change the “Percent Responsibility” to whatever the percentage is going to be.  This is the part you have to do first otherwise it won’t work.

6.       Then change the “Percent of Session” to match the Percent Responsibility.

7.       If the person on the first line is the primary instructor and should be the one showing on the timetable and who also must enter grades, check the “Primary Indicator”.  I have learned that the instructors who are not primary cannot enter grades.

8.       Go to the ID box in the second line and add the next person using the same steps.  When you save it the percentages have to equal 100 or it won’t save.



Scientists Sound the Alarm on Climate Change

From the New York Times

A report to be released today will warn that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.

“The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report, which was made available early to The New York Times. “Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.”

In a sense, this is just one more report about global warming in a string going back decades. For anybody who was already paying attention, the report contains no new science. But the language in the 18-page report, called “What We Know,” is sharper, clearer and more accessible than perhaps anything the scientific community has put out to date.

And the association does not plan to stop with the report. The group, with a membership of 121,200 scientists and science supporters around the world, plans a broad outreach campaign to put forward accurate information in simple language.

The scientists are essentially trying to use their powers of persuasion to cut through public confusion over this issue.

Read the complete story at the New York Times:

Download the full report: What We Know: The Reality, Risks, and Response to Climate Change

North Carolina Ash Spill: Regulations Meet Politics

Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged

North Carolina regulators say that under Gov. Pat McCrory, a weakened Department of Environment and Natural Resources has abandoned its regulatory role.

Read the complete article in the New York Times (from February 28, 2014):

Below, an animated graphic by the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability at Wake Forest University shows the aftermath of the coal ash pond rupture at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Station.