Climate change: Catkins flowering at different times threatening their pollination | Lifestyle News | English Manorama – Onmanorama


Ormskirk, England: As the days grow longer and the air warms up, nature is bursting back to life. Even before their leaves return, trees produce delicate, fuzzy structures known as catkins. These tiny, downy threads, often described as kitten tails (thanks to a fun translation from Dutch to English back in 1578), herald the arrival of spring.
As for timing though, it’s a bit like a botanical ballet. Depending on the species and the year’s environmental conditions, catkins dance to their own beat. Hazels might kick off the floral festivities between January and March, while oaks take their turn between mid-April and May.
The global climate has been changing since the industrial era. Summers are getting warmer, rainfall patterns are fluctuating and extreme weather events will continue to get more frequent. Seasons are beginning to shift.
These changes in temperature and rainfall patterns can play a significant role in shaping the life cycle of trees and will affect the emergence of catkins. In the European Alps, scientists discovered that even minor temperature shifts of just 2C-3C can have a major impact on the amount of pollen produced by catkins.
In regions experiencing warmer temperatures, trees may start producing catkins earlier in the year. This premature blooming can throw a wrench into the synchronised dance between male and female catkins. Trees such as alder, hazel and birch are known as monoecious that means that both their male and female flowers grow on the same tree. Changing temperatures could result in a split in the timing of their development with male and female catkins blooming at different times.
If male catkins show up fashionably early or fashionably late compared to their female counterparts, it can throw off the whole pollination game, leading to fewer seeds being produced. This can also spell trouble for creatures that rely on catkins as a vital food source, such as the common dormouse.
Rainfall patterns influence catkin development. Trees need just the right amount of water during crucial growth stages, including when they’re forming those fluffy catkins. Changes in rainfall, whether it’s a drought or a sudden downpour, can throw things off-kilter, affecting the production and flowering success of catkins.
When catkins get soggy from too much rain, it puts a damper on the release of airborne spores, potentially reducing their chances of successful reproduction. So, whether it’s a temperature twist or a rainfall ruckus, changing weather patterns can have far-reaching consequences.
These environmental changes affect a tree’s ability to produce healthy catkins at the right time. That really matters because catkins aren’t just any old fuzzy bits they’re a vital part of the tree’s reproductive process with fascinating biology.
Symbols of springtime
Each catkin consists of clusters of tiny flowers tightly packed together on a central stem. You’ve probably spotted them as the first signs of spring, adorning trees with their unique charm. These little beauties are essential players in the life cycle of many trees found in the cooler regions of the world.
Trees like alder, silver birch, hazel, oak and white willow are the stars of the catkin show. Male catkins steal the spotlight with their longer, showier appearance.
They’re the pollen producers, releasing clouds of pollen into the air that sometimes trigger hayfever. Birch pollen, for instance, can range from a thousand to ten thousand grains per cubic metre, making it an airborne irritant.
Female catkins are a bit more understated. They’re the quiet achievers, containing the ovules that transform into seeds once they’re fertilised by pollen. While not as flashy as their male counterparts, female catkins have a crucial role receiving the pollen for fertilisation.
Aside from reproduction, catkins also make a tasty treat for some of nature’s critters. Moth larvae, for example, flock to these floral feasts. Interestingly, male catkins pack a more nutritious punch, and moth larvae dining on male catkins tend to have better body mass, survival rates and reproductive success compared to those munching on female catkins.
Catkins play crucial roles within ecosystems, both in terms of their importance in tree reproduction and as food for wildlife. As climate change progresses, the impact on catkins goes beyond direct effects, potentially setting off a chain reaction affecting other species.
Monitoring the nuances of these changes is vital and you can record your local catkin sightings online on the Woodland Trust’s nature’s calendar. This information helps scientists like me understand more about how tree life cycles, and the wildlife that depend on them, are changing over time. 
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Hyundai ends Indonesia aluminium deal after climate campaign by K-pop fans – Environment – The Jakarta Post

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At the time of the signing, Hyundai said it expected to procure aluminium from Adaro that meets the automaker's carbon neutralization policy amid growing demand for aluminium among global automakers.
he South Korean automaker signed the MoU with Adaro Minerals in 2022 to secure the right to purchase aluminium produced by Adaro's subsidiary PT Kalimantan Aluminium Industry. 
At the time of the signing, Hyundai said it expected to procure aluminium from Adaro that meets the automaker's carbon neutralization policy amid growing demand for aluminium among global automakers.
Smelting aluminium requires huge amounts of energy and when using coal produces large volumes of carbon emissions. 
Adaro plans to power the third phase of its aluminium smelter project with a hydropower plant its group is currently building. 
The climate activist group Kpop4Planet that had been calling for an end to Hyundai's aluminium agreement welcomed the decision by the carmaker. 
"It is the victory of thousands of K-pop fans who genuinely care about the climate crisis, especially in Indonesia," Kpop4Planet told Reuters, adding that it will continue to monitor Hyundai's sourcing of materials for its manufacturing.
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Scientific Consensus – Science@NASA

It’s important to remember that scientists always focus on the evidence, not on opinions. Scientific evidence continues to show that human activities (primarily the human burning of fossil fuels) have warmed Earth’s surface and its ocean basins, which in turn have continued to impact Earth’s climate. This is based on over a century of scientific evidence forming the structural backbone of today’s civilization.
NASA Global Climate Change presents the state of scientific knowledge about climate change while highlighting the role NASA plays in better understanding our home planet. This effort includes citing multiple peer-reviewed studies from research groups across the world,1 illustrating the accuracy and consensus of research results (in this case, the scientific consensus on climate change) consistent with NASA’s scientific research portfolio.
With that said, multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.
“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.” (2009)2
“Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.” (2014)3
“The Earth’s climate is changing in response to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and particulate matter in the atmosphere, largely as the result of human activities.” (2016-2019)4
“Based on extensive scientific evidence, it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. There is no alterative explanation supported by convincing evidence.” (2019)5
“Our AMA … supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant.” (2019)6
“Research has found a human influence on the climate of the past several decades … The IPCC (2013), USGCRP (2017), and USGCRP (2018) indicate that it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-twentieth century.” (2019)7
“Earth’s changing climate is a critical issue and poses the risk of significant environmental, social and economic disruptions around the globe. While natural sources of climate variability are significant, multiple lines of evidence indicate that human influences have had an increasingly dominant effect on global climate warming observed since the mid-twentieth century.” (2015)8
“The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2011), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (Melillo et al., 2014) that global climate has warmed in response to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases … Human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) are the dominant cause of the rapid warming since the middle 1900s (IPCC, 2013).” (2015)9
“Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001).” (2005, 11 international science academies)10
“Scientists have known for some time, from multiple lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate, primarily through greenhouse gas emissions.”11
“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities.” (2018, 13 U.S. government departments and agencies)12
“It is unequivocal that the increase of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere over the industrial era is the result of human activities and that human influence is the principal driver of many changes observed across the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere.

“Since systematic scientific assessments began in the 1970s, the influence of human activity on the warming of the climate system has evolved from theory to established fact.”13-17
The following page lists the nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action.
The following page contains information on what federal agencies are doing to adapt to climate change.
Technically, a “consensus” is a general agreement of opinion, but the scientific method steers us away from this to an objective framework. In science, facts or observations are explained by a hypothesis (a statement of a possible explanation for some natural phenomenon), which can then be tested and retested until it is refuted (or disproved).
As scientists gather more observations, they will build off one explanation and add details to complete the picture. Eventually, a group of hypotheses might be integrated and generalized into a scientific theory, a scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.
1. K. Myers, et al, “Consensus revisited: quantifying scientific agreement on climate change and climate expertise among Earth scientists 10 years later”, Environmental Research Letters Vol.16 No. 10, 104030 (20 October 2021); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/ac2774

M. Lynas, et al, “Greater than 99% consensus on human caused climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature”, Environmental Research Letters Vol.16 No. 11, 114005 (19 October 2021); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/ac2966

J. Cook et al., “Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming”, Environmental Research Letters Vol. 11 No. 4, (13 April 2016); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002

J. Cook et al., “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature”, Environmental Research Letters Vol. 8 No. 2, (15 May 2013); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024

W. R. L. Anderegg, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol. 107 No. 27, 12107-12109 (21 June 2010); DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107

P. T. Doran & M. K. Zimmerman, “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”, Eos Transactions American Geophysical Union Vol. 90 Issue 3 (2009), 22; DOI: 10.1029/2009EO030002

N. Oreskes, “Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”, Science Vol. 306 no. 5702, p. 1686 (3 December 2004); DOI: 10.1126/science.1103618
2. Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations (2009)
3. AAAS Board Statement on Climate Change (2014)
4. ACS Public Policy Statement: Climate Change (2016-2019)
5. Society Must Address the Growing Climate Crisis Now (2019)
6. Global Climate Change and Human Health (2019)
7. Climate Change: An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society (2019)
8. American Physical Society (2021)
9. GSA Position Statement on Climate Change (2015)
10. Joint science academies’ statement: Global response to climate change (2005)
11. Climate at the National Academies
12. Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II (2018)
13. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers, SPM 1.1 (2014)
14. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers, SPM 1 (2014)
15. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group 1 (2021)
16. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group 2 (2022)
17. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group 3 (2022)
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Baylor Environmental Scientist Earns Research Support from NASA's Early Career Investigator Program in Earth Science – Baylor University

Innovative research project from Yang Li, Ph.D., will study wildfire smoke while leveraging remote sensing observations in multi-scale modeling
Yang Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science at Baylor, leads students at G.W. Carver Middle School in Waco on a STEM Day experiment on air quality and human health. (Robert Rogers/Baylor University)
Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (March 14, 2024) – Yang Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science at Baylor University, has won a competitive NASA Early Career Investigator Program in Earth Science award that supports outstanding scientific research and career development of scientists and engineers at the early stage of their professional careers. She is the first faculty member in environmental science to receive this early career award.
Li’s innovative research project – Understanding Evolving Chemistry in Wildfire Smoke: Leveraging Remote Sensing Observations in Multi-Scale Modeling – aligns with NASA’s Earth Science Division priorities, including increasing the use of space-based remote sensing, integrating space-based remote sensing data with other datasets (e.g., surface, air) and into models and delivering actionable Earth science – making Earth science data more usable and impactful for the benefit of humanity.
“I was excited to learn that I received this award. I think this timely support from NASA will open more fire-related research opportunities in my lab, and our developed remote sensing products for the Pandonia Global Network will also benefit the atmospheric community globally,” Li said. “Also, I want to say this award greatly reflects the strong support from my department, college and university, which I really appreciate.”
Li described her research topic as “relevant, timely [and] significant” for understanding atmospheric composition and “forward-thinking” considering the increasing importance of wildfires with climate change. Her research will look at the intra- and inter-continental transport events of more frequent wildfire smoke that cause a pressing threat to public health by significantly enhancing ambient levels of smoke pollutants over downwind cities. The long-distance consequences of wildfire smoke could be further exacerbated according to climate change predictions, Li said. However, she noted a significant lack of understanding of how in-plume chemical reactions influence the composition of trace gases and aerosols along the transport processes, primarily due to insufficient measurements from current monitoring networks and lack of accurate modeling to represent the complex vertical structures of wildfire plumes.
“This research will leverage remote sensing observations to better constrain three-dimensional atmospheric modeling,” Li said. “This will allow us to use model results and products from ground networks to support validation of Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of POllution (TEMPO) observations by providing in-depth interpretation of evolving chemistry, UV aerosol observations and standard trace gas products, thereby enhancing the usage of TEMPO datasets to interpret air quality in the U.S. in the long term.”
A Ph.D. graduate of the University of Michigan, Li joined Baylor and the environmental science faculty from Harvard University, where she was a Postdoc Fellow working on MethaneSAT and MethaneAIR data analysis and science applications, with a focus on greenhouse gas flux inversion. Her other research projects at Harvard centered on using a coupled modeling framework to investigate the impacts of future changes in climate, vegetation and land use practices on dust mobilization and wildfire activity.
While at Michigan, Li applied and developed a large-eddy simulation model and regional chemical transport models to interpret the vertical distribution of biogenic volatile organic compounds. At Michigan, she also did a glacial project investigating the impact of aerosol deposition on snowmelt over the Greenland Ice Sheet. Li’s research interests span from local atmospheric chemistry modeling of trace gases and aerosols to global interpretation of climate and air quality co-benefits. At Baylor, she leads the Li Research Group, which offers research opportunities on air quality and climate for undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral researchers.
“Early Career Awards represent a clear indication that funding agencies see the significant long-term potential of researchers,” said George Cobb, Ph.D., professor and chair of environmental science. “Dr. Li’s NASA award is a first for the Environmental Science Department at Baylor University and should serve as the foundation for many future research opportunities for Dr. Li, her students and her colleagues.”
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments in the sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences, as well as 11 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. The College’s undergraduate Unified Core Curriculum, which routinely receives top grades in national assessments, emphasizes a liberal education characterized by critical thinking, communication, civic engagement and Christian commitment. Arts & Sciences faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit the College of Arts & Sciences website.
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Waco, TX 76798


Sand Substitute Developed By Indian Scientists For Eco-Friendly Construction – NDTV

Natural sand is fast becoming a scarce resource.
Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru have created a promising new material that can replace natural sand in construction. This development comes as a response to the growing scarcity of sand, a crucial component in building materials.
The team at IISc’s Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST) is exploring methods to utilise carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from industrial waste gases. They treat excavated soil and construction waste with this CO2, transforming it into a viable sand alternative.
“These materials can then be used to partially replace natural sand. This would not only reduce the environmental impact of construction materials but also impart properties that can enhance their use for construction,” stated IISc in a press release.

Led by Assistant Professor Souradeep Gupta, the research demonstrates that using CO2-treated construction waste in mortar, followed by curing in a CO2-rich environment, significantly accelerates the development of the material’s strength.
The lab members are seen surrounding the developed carbon-sequestered building materials, which were manufactured using additive manufacturing. 
Photo Credit: The MatERIAL group, CST, IISc
“CO2 utilisation and sequestration can be a scalable and feasible technology for manufacturing low-carbon prefabricated building products while being aligned with the nation’s decarbonisation targets,” explains Dr Souradeep Gupta, whose lab is carrying out these studies.
This innovative process boasts a 20-22% increase in the material’s compressive strength. Additionally, injecting CO2 into clay soil, commonly found at construction sites, improves its interaction with cement and lime. This not only stabilises the clay but also enhances its overall engineering performance.
Dr Gupta’s team’s research extends further. They’ve explored incorporating captured CO2 into excavated soil to create cement-lime-soil composites, potentially replacing up to half of the fine aggregates typically used in mortar. This technique promotes the formation of calcium carbonate crystals, leading to improved strength and reduced pore space. Exposing these materials to CO2 further accelerates curing and increases early-age strength by 30%.

The researchers have also developed 3D-printable materials using stabilised excavated soil combined with binders like cement, slag, and fly ash. These materials offer superior printability, potentially reducing the need for cement and sand by up to 50% each.
Future research will focus on the impact of industrial flue gas on these materials’ properties, paving the way for industrial applications and potentially revising standards for cement-based construction materials.
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