“The Morning Briefing” is SmartPlanet’s daily roundup of must-reads from the web. This morning we’re reading the latest news concerning climate change.
1.) Canada pulls the plug on environmental programs. Scientists in the U.S. say they are concerned that Canadian budget cuts will hamper important international research efforts on climate change, pollution and other regional issues that cut across political boundaries. The cuts have affected the Environment Canada, the government agency responsible for meteorological services and environmental research.
2.) Valentine’s Day destroyed by climate change? A new report from the environmental group Climate Nexus notes that climate change is poised to affect Valentine’s Day in the future, by threatening chocolate production. Research from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture found last year that as temperatures rise, the principal growing regions for cocoa could shrink.
3.) Antarctica’s fish threatened by climate change? A study led by Yale University of the evolutionary history of Antarctic fish and their “anti-freeze” protein production illustrates how tens of millions of years ago a lineage of fish adapted to newly formed polar conditions — and how today they are endangered by a warming ocean temperatures. Thomas Near, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and lead author of the study said: “A rise of 2 degrees centigrade of water temperature will likely have a devastating impact on this Antarctic fish lineage, which is so well adapted to water at freezing temperatures.”
4.) Edinburgh’s supercomputers ‘could tackle climate change’. A new generation of £125m ($198m) supercomputers based in Edinburgh, UK, has the potential to discover new inhabitable planets, tackle climate change and even solve the global financial crisis according to their developers.The machines, known as HECToR and BlueGene have a combined power equivalent to every person on the planet carrying out 250,000 calculations per second at the same time. The machines’ development is being expanded, and the HECToR model is already ten times as powerful as it was when it started out in 2008.
5.) Today’s ‘100-year floods’ may happen every three to 20 years according to research. Powerful storms such as Hurricane Irene could become more frequent weather events, according to researchers from MIT and Princeton University. The team have found that with climate change, such storms could make landfall far more frequently, causing powerful, devastating storm surges every three to 20 years. The group simulated tens of thousands of storms under different climate conditions, finding that today’s “500-year floods” could, with climate change, occur once every 25 to 240 years.
Image credit: Teo Romera