Tag Archives: climate change

A (woolly) mammoth find

Environmental changes and a lack of fresh water may have wiped out the last bastion of woolly mammoths living on St. Paul Island in Alaska. And an international team of scientists was able to date this extinction with a precision that has not been seen before.

“It’s amazing that everything turned out so precisely with dating of extinction at 5,600 plus or minus 100 years,” Russell Graham, a professor of geosciences at Penn State and the study’s lead author said. The study was released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday (August 1).

The changing climate caused sea levels to rise, and in turn the mammoths had less access to fresh water. In a New York Times article today, Graham pointed out that “this study has profound implications for both island and low-lying populations today.”

You can read the full article about Graham and his colleagues’ findings on Penn State News.

Members of the news media interested in talking to Graham should contact A’ndrea Messer at 814-865-9481 or aem1@psu.edu.

Featured image by Charles Robert Knight (in the public domain)

Sea level will rise as Antarctica melts

An ice sheet model that includes previously under-appreciated processes indicates that sea level may rise almost 50 feet by the year 2500 due to Antarctic ice sheet melting if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Penn State senior scientist David Pollard and colleagues reported the model in the journal Nature earlier this year.

Continue reading Sea level will rise as Antarctica melts

Focus on research: Does climate change affect genders differently?

By Nancy Tuana

There is increasing agreement that human activities are resulting in significant changes in the global climate. The NASA website on climate change provides a snapshot of these changes.

Global temperatures have gone up an average of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, with last year, 2015, ranked as the warmest on record. These temperatures have contributed to rising sea levels due both to increasing ocean temperatures and the accelerated melting of glaciers and ice sheets. These changes are fueling altered weather patterns such as precipitation changes resulting in droughts in some regions and flooding in others, as well as increasing the intensity of extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unchecked, the effects could result in serious disruptions to agriculture, flooding of the world’s coastal cities, changes in species migrations, and even extinction of some plants and animals.  Continue reading Focus on research: Does climate change affect genders differently?

Listening to data

Have you ever thought about taking data points and creating music with them? This is exactly what Mark Ballora does.

Ballora, a Penn State associate professor of music technology, translates data into music — also known as data sonification. He does this in part to emphasize that data may be interpreted aurally as well as visually.

As described in an earlier post this week, Ballora sonified Penn State Polar Center director Eric Post’s research on phenology and caribou and muskox populations. Phenology is the study of the timing of seasonal events — such as the onset of spring flowering or the arrival of migratory birds.
Continue reading Listening to data

Polar Day showcases cool research & art

Spring is coming earlier in the year than it used to, according to the Arctic.

Well, the Arctic can’t talk — but according to data that ecologist Eric Post and his team have gathered in that region, spring is arriving about two to three weeks earlier than it did in 2002.

We learned about this and more at the fourth annual Polar Day, hosted by Penn State’s Polar Center on Tuesday, March 22. A variety of activities and presentations throughout the day highlighted several aspects of polar exploration and research. Presentations ranged from an ROV — remotely operated vehicle — demonstration to photography to musical interpretations of data from polar regions.  Continue reading Polar Day showcases cool research & art