In case you missed it: 4 big stories from our world

Human Nature shares four stories from the past week that you should know about.

Does a slow AMOC increase the rate of global warming?

Established understanding of the AMOC (sometimes popularly called Gulf Stream System) says that a weaker AMOC leads to a slightly cooler global mean surface temperature due to changes in ocean heat storage. But now, a new paper in Nature claims the opposite and even predicts a phase of rapid global warming. What’s the story? By Stefan Rahmstorf and Michael Mann In 1751, the captain of an English slave-trading

Hawaiʻi votes to protect coral reefs — from our sunscreen

Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige will sign a bill to prohibit the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals that contribute to the destruction of coral reefs.

To feed itself, Hawai‘i must make sea change, study finds

To feed its growing population, Hawai‘i is looking to produce more locally sourced seafood, which has a smaller environmental footprint.

If you doubt that the AMOC has weakened, read this

A few weeks ago, we’ve argued in a paper in Nature that the Atlantic overturning circulation (sometimes popularly dubbed the Gulf Stream System) has weakened significantly since the late 19th Century, with most of the decline happening since the mid-20th Century. We have since received much praise for our study from colleagues around the world (thanks for

Does global warming make tropical cyclones stronger?

By Stefan Rahmstorf, Kerry Emanuel, Mike Mann and Jim Kossin Friday marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which will be watched with interest after last year’s season broke a number of records and e.g. devastated Puerto Rico’s power grid, causing serious problems that persist today. One of us (Mike) is part of a team that has issued a seasonal forecast (see Kozar et al 2012) calling for a roughly average season

Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning circulation

Through two new studies in Nature, the weakening of the Gulf Stream System is back in the scientific headlines. But even before that, interesting new papers have been published – high time for an update on this topic. Let’s start with tomorrow’s issue of Nature, which besides the two new studies (one of which I was involved in) also includes a News&Views commentary. Everything revolves around the question of whether the Gulf Stream System has already weakened. Climate models predict this will be one consequence of global warming – alongside

What on Earth is the ‘blue economy’?

On the first day of the Economist World Ocean Summit, we break down the “blue economy.”

The shipping industry has quietly gone without a climate plan — until now

The target: Slash emissions in half by 2050.

Big data helps scientists watch ocean plastic gyres form

Researchers tracked hundreds of buoys deployed in the Gulf of Mexico. The findings may help scientists pinpoint areas for plastic or oil-spill cleanup.

Will corporate action on ocean plastic make an impact? 6 ways to tell

The supersize problem requires the biggest businesses to take action.

Nature’s year ahead: 3 must-read environmental books for 2018

Here are three books about the environment that you should add to your reading list.

Can Road Salt and Other Pollutants Disrupt Our Circadian Rhythms?

By Jennifer Marie Hurley Every winter, local governments across the U.S. apply millions of tons of road salt to keep streets navigable during snow and ice storms. Runoff from melting snow carries road salt into streams and lakes, and causes many bodies of water to have extraordinarily high salinity . At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, my colleague Rick Relyea and his lab are working to quantify how increases in salinity affect ecosystems. Not surprisingly, they have found that high salinity has negative impacts on many species . They have also discovered that some species have the ability to cope with these increases in

Oil Giants Invest $180B in Plastics, Propelling Oceans Toward ‘Near-Permanent’ Pollution

By Julia Conley Scientists and environmental protection advocates are warning that a coming plastics boom could lead to a permanent state of pollution on the planet—and denouncing the fossil fuel industry for driving an increase in plastics production amid all that’s known about the material polluting the world’s oceans . “We could be locking in decades of expanded plastics production at precisely the time the world is realizing we should use far less of it,” Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law

How a Girl Scout inspired a health care giant to ditch plastic straws

It started with a single email to Dignity Health.

Preserving this national marine sanctuary guards natural resources

Why protect 600,000 square miles that most people will never see?

CNN Shows Right Way to Report on Hurricanes and Climate Change

From the Dec. 2 edition of CNN Newsroom : Clarissa Ward: Michael Mann is one of the country’s top climate scientists. He has testified before Congress about the threat posed by climate change . [Begin Clip] Ward: Is there a direct connection between the intensity of the hurricanes that we’re seeing and climate change? Michael Mann: There is a direct connection. And too often we hear the problem framed as “Did climate change cause this storm? Did it cause this hurricane?” That’s not the right way to think about it. The question is, “Is climate change amplifying

Lobster With Pepsi Can ‘Tattoo’ Embodies Fears About Ocean Waste: Here Are 5 More Examples

By Joe McCarthy It’s safe to say that lobsters aren’t a budding new demographic for soda companies. So why did a lobster recently caught in the waters off Grand Manan, New Brunswick, have part of a Pepsi logo tattooed on its claw? That’s a question that baffled Karissa Lindstrand, the fisherman who spotted the uncanny image during a lobster haul, according to the Guardian . Lindstrand happens to drink up to a dozen Pepsi sodas a day, but she was struck by the image’s unusual dimensions. It was pixelated, she told the Guardian, and far too big to be seen on a soda can—theoretically debunking claims that the lobster grew up in a can. She’s

Congress: Biggest Attack on Marine Mammals in Decades

By Michael Jasny On Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee passed a bill, called the “SECURE American Energy Act” ( H.R. 4239 ), that can only be described as an oil industry wish-list. The bill’s purpose is to mow down environmental concerns that stand in the way of the complete exploitation of fossil fuels in this country. For the oceans, this would mean an end to national monument designation and to some of those pesky safety regulations that were

Unilever, PepsiCo wash hands of ‘biodegradable’ plastic

Emerging evidence suggests oxo-degradable packaging could be more harmful than previously realized.

Field notes, Halloween edition: 6 of our scariest moments

To celebrate Halloween, Human Nature asked CI staff to describe their most spine-tingling experiences in nature.

New York City Could Face Damaging Floods ‘Every Five Years’ in a Warmer Climate

By Daisy Dunne New York City could be struck by severe flooding up to every five years by 2030 to 2045 if no efforts are made to curb human-driven climate change , new research finds. Floods that reach more than 2.25 meters (approximately 7.4 feet) in height—enough to inundate the first story of a building—could dramatically increase in frequency as a result of future sea level rise and bigger storm surges, the study suggests. Such severe floods would be expected only around once in every 25 years from 1970 to 2005. The findings make

5 global trends spawning seafood innovation

On the cusp of thoroughly reimagining products, supply chains and technologies, the sector is no longer swimming upstream against sustainable practices.