Climate change is a major threat to bumble bees

New research from a team of scientists and their collaborators from Florida State University is helping to connect the climate changes we’re facing and a dramatic decline in bumble bee population all over the planet. The study was published in the famous Ecology Letters journal. The scientists were researching three types of bumble bees species in Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Some of them are facing huge problems, because for them, the changing climate means the lack of good quality flowers to go around.

 

“Knowing whether climate variation most affects bumble bees directly or indirectly will allow us to better predict how bumble bee populations will cope with continued climate change”

 

said Jane Ogilvie, the Florida State University postdoctoral researcher who was the study’s lead investigator. The research team found out that the abundances of all of the bee species were affected by indirect effects of climate. Since the global climate and weather conditions change from year to year, the seasonal cycles are not always the same, meaning they shift due to the climate changes facing. In mountain areas like the ones researched snow starts to melt earlier than before and so is the flowering season extended. At first, the extended flowering season could seem like there are more opportunities for all those bees to feed, but the truth is different. The research has shown that, when the snow melts earlier and the flowering season extends, there is a longer period of poor flower availability which in the end results in lack of food for the bees which can later be associated with the population decline.

Slikovni rezultat za bees decline

The graph showing the decline in the population of bees in the US

Declining of the number of living bees has been a cause for alarm among many biologist and scientists. Bees are well known for having annual life cycles, a lot shorter than people, so they quickly show response to any change in the environment they live in. Moreover, bees are very important factor for agricultural productivity and propagation of plant seeds.

Slikovni rezultat za bees ROCKY MOUNTAINS

One of three bee species researched in the Rocky Mountains area

 

The damage inflicted by climate change on global pollinator populations is of particular concern for scientists, as these species are crucial to agricultural productivity and the propagation of natural plant communities.

The team is worried that the research will show the problem is even deeper and more complex than previously thought. The further research will continue, hoping the team will find the cause and the possible solutions to the problem of population decline

August 2017 was the second warmest ever

The modern record-keeping and measuring is known for the last 137 years. That is the time perio for which  we have the weather and climate data collected. This year’s August was the second warmest August in the last 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) from New York.

This result was not accidental  since we can see that the measured value is consistent with the trend in global average Earth’s surface temperatures. This trend  has been observed during the past few decades. In average, this year’s August was approx. +0.85 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean August temperature between 1951. and 1980 which is also an indicator of global warming and climate changes.

A global map of the August 2017 LOTI (land-ocean temperature index) anomaly, relative to the 1951-1980 August average. Part of Antarctica is gray because data from some stations there were not yet available at the time of this posting. View larger image.

A global map of the August 2017 LOTI (land-ocean temperature index) anomaly, relative to the 1951-1980 August average. Part of Antarctica is gray because data from some stations there were not yet available at the time of this posting.

So, which August was the warmest so far? Of course, it was the August of 2016 which was even warmer than the one of 2017. It was because August 2016 was still affected by the El Niño and was 0.99 degrees Celsius warmer than normal. However, August 2017 was approximately 0,2 degrees warmer than the August following the last large El Niño event in 1997-1998. This research has been made by NASA’s team and has been made by acquiring data from more than 6.300 different meteorological stations from all over the world, as well as on the surface of the seas and oceans. Apart from measuring air temperature, sea surface and Earth’s surface temperatures were also measured in order to give us the summary. Even the Antarctic researching stations were included in this data gathering.

The measuring we know today has started somewhere around 1880. There is some data from the dates before the mentioned year but are not competent  since the measuring didn’t cover enough of the planet.

aug 2017 second warmest

The GISTEMP monthly temperature anomalies superimposed on a 1980-2015 mean seasonal cycle.

It was not only the August which was above average. In the last few years we record some groundbreaking data from our meteorological stations all over the world. The predictions of the scientists and researchers is that many more months to come will come with the + sign. That meaning that the following years are likely to be even warmer that this one was, which is nothing to be surprised with. This trend will continue to rise for many years to come, if we’re to trust NASA.

Giant iceberg breaks off Antarctic glacier!

A huge iceberg which is almost five times the size of Manhattan has broken off the  Island Glacier in West Antarctica. This is already the second time in two years when the glacier has calved an iceberg this big in size!

The big break off was first seen by a satellite observation specialist from a satellite image. The loss of the huge part of the ice was visible at first sight. The surface of the iceberg was around 267 square kilometers (more than one hundred square miles). Many of the famous scientists, glaciologists and earth scientists have spoken about this issue on social media.

“It’s not unprecedented, but this glacier is concerning for future sea level rise”

Peter Neff from the University of Rochester, New York.

The mentioned Pine Island Glacier is the largest contributor of ice to the ocean of all the glaciers in West Antarctica. Every year the Pine Island Glacier loses 45 billion tons of ice which causes sea levels to increase in height for 1 millimeter every eight years. Which means that if the whole glacier melts, the global sea level would rise for around 0.5 meter, which would cause massive consequences.

 

The Pine Island Glacier is located in West Antarctica. It flows into Pine Island Bay, by the Amundsen Sea.

The location of the iceberg in the Pine Island Glacier; Credit: NASA

As we have already said, this is not the first time the great Glacier has broken. The last big break off happened in 2015 when the 582 square km iceberg broke off. Scientist and researchers think that this inside-out type of melting happens because of the human caused climate changes which are happening in the last few decades.

Of course, all the icebergs that break off from its original glacier lead to melting and eventually to the rise of the sea water level all around the world, which eventually has global and tremendous consequences for the humanity in whole. This is one of the most frightening things that has happened this year that has something to do with global warming and climate changes. A great number of scientists and biologists are doing their best to find the solution. There are many videos around the internet where’s visible what a great part of the glacier has broken off this time. You can keep reading our blog to find out more about this subject.