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NASA’s Game-Changing Plan To Save Coral Reefs




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Mounted in the belly of a Gulfstream IV aircraft, PRISM will record the spectra of light reflected upward toward the instrument from the ocean below. Its very high spectral resolution is then used to identify reef composition (i.e., coral, algae, and sand) and model primary production. COURTESY NASA/JPL-CALTECH
The space agency is lending high-tech instruments to a 3-year study.

January 7, 2016 — NASA’s high-tech endeavors normally look outward. But given the existential threat facing the world’s coral reefs, the space agency has decided to focus its efforts closer to home — and the result may be game changing.

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We’ve Rediscovered ‘Extinct’ Giant Tortoises

giant tortoises
Giant tortoises relocated by our expedition from the Volcano Wolf, Isabela Island, to the captive breeding program of the Galápagos National Park, Santa Cruz Island. JOE FLANAGAN

January 7, 2016 — The Galápagos Islands, 1,000 kilometers off the coast of South America, are probably most famous as the place that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. They are home to an extraordinary array of wildlife, including giant Galápagos tortoises, the world’s largest land-living cold-blooded animals.

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Earth is Experiencing a Global Warming Spurt

coral bleaching
High temperatures are bleaching corals, such as this bent sea rod off Florida. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey/Flickr
Cyclical changes in the Pacific Ocean have thrown earth’s surface into what may be an unprecedented warming spurt, following a global warming slowdown that lasted about 15 years.

January 7, 2016 — While El Niño is being blamed for an outbreak of floods, storms and unseasonable temperatures across the planet, a much slower-moving cycle of the Pacific Ocean has also been playing a role in record-breaking warmth. The recent effects of both ocean cycles are being amplified by climate change.

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A single gas well leak is California’s biggest contributor to climate change

natural gas leak
SoCalGas crews and technical experts try to stop the flow of natural gas leaking from a storage well at the utility’s Aliso Canyon facility. Photograph: Javier Mendoza/AP
Rupture of Aliso Canyon well has released more than 77,000 metric tons of methane and refocused attention on America’s accident-prone infrastructure

January 7, 2016 —The single biggest contributor to climate change in California is a blown-out natural gas well more than 8,700ft underground, state authorities and campaign groups said Monday.

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Droughts and heatwaves cause 10% drop in annual crop harvests

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A farmer walks in a field on the outskirts of Luoyang, central China’s Henan province. © Carlf Zhang/Reuters/Corbis.
Over the past five decades, hundreds of droughts and heatwaves have struck countries across the world. A new study finds that these events caused an average annual drop in national crop production of around 10%.

January 7, 2016 — The cumulative global losses of these hot and dry extremes amount to 3bn tonnes of cereal crops, the study says – equivalent to three times the global maize harvest last year.

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Growing disaster resiliency in Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) and the rest of Mindanao