Overall health of Chesapeake Bay gets C+ grade in annual report by scientists – 13newsnow.com WVEC

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Chesapeake Bay received a C+ overall health grade from scientists at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science on Tuesday.
The grade comes from UMCES’s annual Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Report Card, which has studied the health of the nation’s largest estuary for over 40 years.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed is a vast network of more than 180,000 miles of streams, creeks, and rivers across six states including Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.
RELATED: New Virginia budget allocates $3.75 million toward cleaning up contaminated “Money Point” section of Elizabeth River in Chesapeake
The report uses seven bay indicators to assess the aquatic ecosystem, such as water clarity, underwater grass growth, phosphorus, nitrogen, and oxygen amount measurements at different water depths, and the condition of the organisms living in or on the bottom of the bay.
When accessing the bay’s watershed health, the report also looks at ecological, societal and economic aspects that may affect the Bay’s overall health. This year’s watershed was identical to last year’s at 52%, or a grade of C.
The overall C+ grade is the highest since 2002.
“There is still much to do, but this is a strong indicator of progress,” said Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “After being off track, the partnership is now accelerating progress. In recent years, EPA has stepped up enforcement, accountability, and investments and it is paying off. These efforts have helped spur historic results among upstream and downstream states and all sectors, especially agriculture.”
“While a C+ is an improvement, it’s clear that far too much pollution is still entering the Bay,” said Chesapeake Bay Foundation Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration Alison Prost. ” We can and must do more for the Bay, its rivers and streams, and the communities that depend on them.”
This year’s UMCES report is also noteworthy because researchers said they are building a human-made debris indicator to understand the different types of contamination from items like plastic bags and bottles. Currently, not all of this debris is monitored, and the data is not collected uniformly across the bay and watershed. Researchers hope the information will be used to create targeted prevention and mitigation strategies.
“There’s a lot of things we can do on a personal-behavior level to reduce the plastics that end up in the bay,” said Bill Dennison, a UMCES professor and vice president.
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Regulatory Focus on Forced Labor Spur Uptick in Adoption of Supply Chain Sustainability Software – Supply and Demand Chain Executive

New research from Verdantix found that recent EU supply chain due diligence regulations and social-related disclosures to improve supply chain transparency will drive a $7 billion market in supply chain sustainability software by 2029.
New research from Verdantix found that recent EU supply chain due diligence regulations and social-related disclosures to improve supply chain transparency, including crackdowns on human rights violations, will drive a $7 billion market in supply chain sustainability software by 2029, with European firms set to be the biggest spenders.

“Europe leads the world on sustainability regulations, and this is reflected in its projected spending on supply chain sustainability software. However, the extraterritorial reach of regulations such as CSRD means we expect spending in other regions such as North America to catch up. There’s also rising scrutiny over human rights abuses like forced labor. This is incentivizing firms to invest in software to help monitor and demonstrate their commitments to human rights,” says Jessie Wilson, analyst, ESG and sustainability at Verdantix. “We expect future supply chains to be smart and resilient, leveraging AI to enhance data quality and predictive risk management. These advancements will provide deeper insights, helping companies identify and mitigate risks such as forced labor and sourcing from conflict-affected areas or sanctioned regions. Blockchain-based track-and-trace solutions will offer visibility beyond tier 1 suppliers, streamlining processes and ensuring compliance. Integrating these technologies will transform supply chains, making them efficient, ethical, and sustainable.”
 
 
 

 

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Our houses and pavement made Phoenix this hot. Here's how we cool it back down – The Arizona Republic

“It’s sweltering outside!” My mom said that every day of every summer as she walked into our north Phoenix home. My siblings and I still say it to each other, though with more sarcasm. 
My usual response to this was, “Yeah. It’s July. In Phoenix.” It’s no surprise Mom retired to Prescott. 
Growing up, temps regularly hit 115, 118 — finally reaching 122 degrees one day in 1990. Sky Harbor International Airport shut down for a few hours since the charts didn’t cover anything above 120 degrees. 
Yet, every year, people seem surprised Phoenix gets hot in the summer. 
Bloomberg News claims the Valley faces “a Hurricane Katrina of heat.”
CNN warns it will “torment millions,” while The Guardian calls Phoenix “the least sustainable city in the world.”
Needless to say, all blame the sweltering on climate change. 
But it’s July. In Phoenix. 
Pointing to global warming is convenient since there’s nothing you and I can really do about that, absent the de-industrialization of China and India. Since that isn’t coming anytime soon, we can’t await salvation from the federal government, let alone the United Nations. 
But using a more localized perspective, human efforts have heated up the Valley a few degrees. And those can be mitigated. 
Growing up on the northern edge of town, the days were just as hot, but nights cooled off considerably. There isn’t much heat retention in the open desert, especially compared to the hundreds of square miles of black pavement and urban sprawl.  
The rapid growth of Phoenix created a “heat island.” Replacing virgin desert with concrete, steel and asphalt resulted in a thermal dome extending vertically above the city, leading to much higher nighttime temperatures.  
Once the sun sets, city streets release the pent-up heat for hours. It also elevates air pressure over the city, causing the annual monsoon storms to skirt around it. 
As an ER doctor:I’ve seen how Phoenix heat kills
After last year’s very mild June, July brought a brutal heat wave with 31 subsequent days of temperatures of 110 degrees or higher, claiming more than 400 lives.
This prompted aggressive actions by local leaders to do what they could. 
One simple improvement is the Arizona “lawn” consisting of sandy-colored desert rock and a few desert plants. My Midwestern relatives complain about the lack of grass, but adaptive xeriscaping reduces the use of precious water and returns these little plots of land into cooler desert spaces. 
The city also instituted a cool roof program 10 years ago, replacing darker standard roofs with much more reflective colors and materials. So far, only 3.5% of buildings in the area can be considered “cool,” but it’s well worth the upgrade.
A 2021 study by Arizona State University found the process reduces energy use by an average of 17% and keeps roofs as much as 50 degrees cooler.
On a larger scale, replacing blazing-hot asphalt with “cool pavements” reflects more solar energy, enhances water evaporation, and doesn’t retain as much heat.
Following a 2021 pilot program, Phoenix installed 100 miles of cool pavement, and is now reassessing the effects and working on further improvements.
By redoubling our commitment to these promising technologies, the Valley can reduce the heat island effect and help temperatures return to their natural, albeit high, level.
At the same time, they can reduce energy demand, air conditioning costs and health issues, helping both residents and the climate. 
Phoenix doesn’t have the luxury to wait for world leaders to “fix” the climate, whatever that might entail. The city’s rapid growth helped create the rising urban temperatures; it’s up to us residents to solve the issue instead of just complaining.
Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. On X, formerly Twitter: @exjon.

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Climate change may cause lake phytoplankton to become predatory, putting more CO₂ into the atmosphere – Phys.org


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July 11, 2024
This article has been reviewed according to Science X’s editorial process and policies. Editors have highlighted the following attributes while ensuring the content’s credibility:
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by Beatrix Beisner,
Plankton—tiny organisms that are present in salt and freshwater—account for about half of the photosynthesis on the planet. But what scientists have assumed for many years to be plant plankton (phytoplankton) may actually be voracious predators.
In lakes, plankton prey on single-celled bacteria that are in turn responsible for recycling nutrients that keep lake food webs functioning.
I am a researcher studying phytoplankton and zooplankton (animal plankton). In my lab, we focus on factors influencing the biodiversity and functioning of plankton communities, including climate change and pollutants into lakes.
We have recently been exploring bacterial feeding by phytoplankton, researching how and when they do it, and how various environmental conditions might affect their activity.
Phytoplankton are mostly composed of microscopic single-celled organisms called protozoa (or protists). This refers to their initial identification as primitive animals (the suffix –zoa has the same root word as zoo) because, although they are small, they are often very mobile. Many of them can swim, sometimes at great speed, using long whip-like hairs called flagella.
Phytoplankton were initially identified as free-living, non-parasitic protozoa getting energy through photosynthesis. They use specialized cellular machinery called chloroplasts that allow them to convert light energy into glucose using water and carbon dioxide, just like land plants.
Phytoplankton release oxygen in this process and are an important reason as to why the Earth has a breathable atmosphere.
By photosynthesizing, phytoplankton in lakes and oceans are an important part of the battle against climate change, as this so-called “primary production” reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
To photosynthesize, phytoplankton also need nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. These are the primary components of fertilizers used in agriculture and gardens, and they are essential to phytoplankton. These nutrients can be lacking in lakes, especially more pristine lakes.
There can also be a lack of light for photosynthesis for phytoplankton living deeper in lakes. In both instances, it appears that some phytoplankton species can switch to preying on other organisms as a food source.
In addition to operating like plants, many phytoplankton species can be predatory—ecologists refer to these types of phytoplankton as mixoplankton.
This comes from the longer name of “mixotrophic phytoplankton,” meaning that they consume resources in a mixed way: in this case, using photosynthesis (photoautotrophy) and by consuming bacteria (heterotrophy).
Mixoplankton consume bacteria using a process called phagocytosis. They modify their cell membrane to completely engulf the prey bacterium, enclosing it within the cell.
Then this package pinches off inside the cell, forming a sac that operates like a small stomach, increasing acidity to digest the bacterium. The prey represents a package loaded with nutrients that the phytoplankton may not be able to otherwise obtain from the lake environment.
A recent proposition suggests that mixoplankton may “farm” bacteria. One of the most essential compounds that bacteria rely on for their growth is carbon. But they seem to prefer carbon that is released in a highly dissolved organic form by photosynthesizing phytoplankton.
Thus, while photosynthesizing, mixoplankton release carbon that helps the bacteria nearby grow better. But when photosynthetic activity is limited (by light or nutrients), these same mixotrophic phytoplankton may harvest the nearby cultivated bacteria to keep growing.
Aquatic ecologists suspect that the mixoplankton strategy is mostly favored when light or nutrients are limited—but research shows that mixoplankton may consume prey at higher temperatures.
It has proven difficult to study which strategy a mixoplankton is using under any set of environmental conditions in nature. Existing methods are difficult to implement and because there is no clear gene associated with bacterial consumption, we can’t pinpoint this activity with genomic analyses either.
One approach that we have taken in my lab has been to identify in which lakes we expect to see mixoplankton as more dominant. One of our studies has recently shown results contrary to model expectations however, with more mixoplankton in lakes with high nutrients.
So, we need to start measuring which strategy is actually being used under which conditions by mixoplankton. We can use ingestion experiments, adding bacteria that have been labeled using a fluorescence dye into isolated phytoplankton communities. These bacteria can be followed into mixoplankton cells and identified on specialized instruments.
We can also use fluorescent dyes that bind to bacterial DNA within mixoplankton cells. With these approaches, we are attempting to better understand under which conditions mixoplankton will choose which feeding strategy.
We now have reason to believe that higher temperatures associated with climate change will favor mixoplankton over purely photosynthetic phytoplankton. Overall, such a shift would tip the balance away from phytoplankton reducing CO2 in our atmosphere to potentially contributing more CO2 to the atmosphere.
This is yet another potential feedback cycle that could result from massive shifts in the Earth’s biosphere—a shift that would help accelerate climate change even further. The seemingly inconsequential feeding behavior of these tiny microbes in lakes and oceans could have global consequences.
Provided by The Conversation
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation
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[Graphic News] 6 out of 10 car owners consider buying eco-friendly vehicle: poll – The Korea Herald

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Start your day with a roundup of key stories from The Korea Herald with news and comment on all that’s happening in Korea. 
Published : July 10, 2024 – 08:01
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Over 6 out of 10 automobile owners consider choosing eco-friendly vehicles as their next car, a poll showed.
According to the poll conducted recently by consumer data platform Open Survey on 1,500 adults, 39.7 percent of car owners said they were considering a hybrid car primarily as their next vehicle.
Gasoline cars came next, at 26.7 percent, followed by electric and diesel cars, at 24.1 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. The combined rate of hybrid and electric vehicles in the poll stood at 63.8 percent.
Respondents in their 50s made up the largest age group among those who considered buying a hybrid, at 37.3 percent, followed by those in their 40s, at 31.3 percent. Only 8.6 percent of respondents in their 20s expressed intent to purchase a hybrid car.
Among respondents willing to purchase an electric car, 62.1 percent said they believe electric vehicles would contribute to environmental protection. (Yonhap)

Articles by Nam Kyung-don
The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation
Copyright Herald Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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The Most—and Least—Eco-Friendly Ways to Travel – AFAR Media

Being a greener traveler isn’t as simple as swapping one mode of transport for another.
Photo by misign/Shutterstock
The flight shame movement has taken off on the basis that flying is terrible for the environment. But for those who want to do better by planet Earth and reduce their climate change–inducing carbon footprint, simply reducing their reliance on air travel will only address one small slice of the problem.
In the United States, the overall transportation sector is the biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2017 (the most recent year for which data is currently available), transportation accounted for 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, followed by electricity at 28 percent, and industry at 22 percent.
Within the transportation sector, road vehicles are actually the biggest culprit, accounting for a whopping 82 percent of those emissions, with aircraft accounting for 9 percent, and rail for 2 percent (ships, boats, and other forms of transportation account for 7 percent combined), according to the EPA.
It’s a similar story on the global front. In the European Union, road transport accounted for 72 percent of transportation-related CO2 emissions in 2016, according to a report released by the European Parliament this year. The next largest contributor was water transport (boats and ships), at 13.6 percent, followed by air travel at 13.4 percent. Rail only contributed 0.5 percent.

So, why does air travel get such a bad rap? Well, that’s because when you look at the emissions attributable to an individual passenger traveling by car versus rail versus air, air travel does pretty miserably. For instance, according to the site EcoPassenger, which calculates per-passenger carbon emissions between destinations in Europe, for a person traveling from London to Paris during a popular travel time (so when trains and planes are likely to be more full and thus more efficient), the CO2 output would be 122 kilograms if that person flew, versus 48 kilograms if he or she drove or 15 kilograms by train.
And if you’re wondering where cruise ships fall into the lineup, they don’t have a strong track record either. The International Council on Clean Transportation recently concluded that even the most efficient cruise ships emit between three and four times more CO2 per passenger, per kilometer than an airplane.
Rail travel, however, is consistently one of the lowest emitters. It’s not surprising that the flygskam or “flight shame” movement inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has put the emphasis on converting air travel to much less impactful rail journeys.
National rail operator Amtrak reports that one of its electric trains emits .074 kilograms of greenhouse gases (CO2 ) per passenger mile, compared with .227 kilograms of greenhouse gases per passenger mile for short-haul flights (flights less than 300 miles), and .137 kilograms of greenhouse gases per passenger mile for longer flights (flights between 300 and 2,300 miles). That translates into 70 percent fewer emissions for a rail journey when compared to a short-haul flight and about half the emissions for a rail journey when compared to a long-haul flight.
In short, if you opt to take a train versus a plane, your carbon output for that journey will likely be quite a bit lower. But that’s definitely not as easily done in the United States, which as the fourth largest country in the world has huge expanses to cross, and where the rail system is notoriously behind in sophistication and scope compared to its international counterparts, including the high-speed rail networks of Europe.
So, what if you opt to drive instead of fly? Well, that’s where the issue becomes more complicated. For one, depending on the distance and the passenger load, driving may not result in a considerably lower emissions output. A recent BBC article citing U.K. government energy data noted that CO2 emissions per passenger, per kilometer traveled were .171 kilograms for a passenger car with one person in it, versus .102 kilograms for a long-haul flight, and .133 kilograms for a shorter-haul domestic flight within the United Kingdom.
Sure enough, the more people in the road-based vehicle, the lower the per-passenger emissions, with CO2 emissions per passenger, per kilometer traveled being .043 for a bus, and .041 for each person in a car with four people traveling in it (versus only one, cited above). The lowest emitter (once again) was high-speed rail, at .006 kilograms, according to the U.K. government data.
Additionally, if you opt out of a flight and choose to drive instead, you are joining the masses on the road to be part of what is in fact the biggest overall contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. A lot more people drive in this world than fly. The aviation industry accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. So that means that if everyone were to stop flying, just 2 percent of the problem would be solved.
While some people might be craving a simple, impactful solution to reducing their travel carbon footprint—and sure, making a statement by not flying, for instance, is certainly significant—the reality is that for those who want to make a lasting and longer-term difference, a more thoughtful approach to transportation decisions will be needed.
According to David Reichmuth, Ph.D., a senior engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program, for travelers looking to reduce their impact, they should be thinking about several factors.
“There’s a lot we can do to make [transportation] cleaner and have fewer emissions. So, for passenger vehicles, having both more efficient gasoline vehicles but then also switching entirely from petroleum to electricity allows for reducing both tailpipe emissions and climate-changing emissions,” said Reichmuth.
Reichmuth added that concerned travelers should be thinking about greener vehicles, whether that is their own cars (which he argues is where the biggest impact could be made within a given household) or by being more informed about how efficient their aircraft, bus, or train is. Even within rail travel, for instance, there is a wide range of emissions output depending on the types of trains—diesel trains are typically more polluting than electric trains, and some electric trains are less efficient than others. He also said travelers should think about avoiding vehicle use when possible by walking or biking and should consider taking greater advantage of public transit opportunities and carpooling.
One way to be more informed about each mode of travel is to calculate and compare the carbon emissions output of a given trip. Thankfully, there are numerous, free, online calculators that help travelers do this now. The International Civil Aviation Organization, which is part of the United Nations, has a version for air travel that is intended for use in buying carbon offsets. The site offCents, meanwhile, allows users to calculate emissions for their rail, car, or airplane travel, with the aim of recommending corresponding offset programs, which users can contribute toward to offset their journeys.
Ultimately, the biggest factors impacting emissions related to travel are decisions that are made at the policy level—regulations that dictate what kind of emissions standards manufacturers must abide by.
Travelers who want to see their journey truly become greener should speak up. The airline industry is beginning to take notice of growing concerns about climate change and has begun to make some serious strides when it comes to scaling back on emissions, as well as offsetting them (they are also being required to do so by national and international regulations that have been put into place).
“To the extent that you can, take an active role in advocating for these policy actions. That can be at the local level,” said Reichmuth, noting that many municipalities have their own individual climate goals and action plans that citizens can get involved in. At the state and federal level, people can also advocate for and support clean vehicle policies that could ultimately result in travelers having a larger, and ideally greener, range of vehicles and modes of transportation to choose from.
>> Next: These Are the World’s Most Environmentally Friendly Countries
Travelers Who Care
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New Emory dashboard details health impact of climate change across Georgia | Emory University | Atlanta GA – Emory News Center

By Rob Spahr July 10, 2024
The Rollins School of Public Health’s new climate and health indicator dashboard features county-level data from 20 indicators—such as annual totals for extreme heat days, air pollution, and drought—across each of Georgia’s 159 counties.
— Rollins School of Public Health
The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University has launched a new climate and health indicator dashboard that provides data on the impact that climate change is having on human health in Georgia.
The mobile-friendly dashboard provides data spanning decades on numerous indicators of climate-related hazards—such as annual totals for extreme heat days, air pollution, and drought—for each of Georgia’s 159 counties. It is the only publicly available interactive dashboard that provides both public health and climate-related data on a county-by-county level across Georgia.
“This is part of Emory’s commitment to our community to address the issue of climate change. It is designed to communicate the risks in Georgia—particularly the impact on public health—and how people in Georgia experience climate change,” says Yang Liu, PhD, chair of the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.
The Southeast, and Georgia specifically, is increasingly vulnerable to climate change, experiencing more extreme heat days and related negative health outcomes.  
The dashboard also provides decades of county-level trends for at-risk populations of Georgians, including:
“This dashboard shows that climate change is happening, it is affecting Georgia communities, and we need to take action. The dashboard empowers policymakers, government agencies, media, and community groups with the information they need to promote climate and public health measures backed by scientific evidence,” Liu says.
The dashboard is funded through the Emory Climate Research Initiative (ECRI), which provides leadership in climate and health research, education, and solutions in response to climate change.
“Action is driven by data and the ability to visualize data. It is exciting that this dashboard will further enable scientific-based action to help prevent and mitigate health consequences of our changing environment,” says Daniele Fallin, PhD, dean of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. 
Dashboard users can:
The dashboard and Climate & Health Actionable Research and Translation Center (CHART) are integral pieces of the climate change and health research at the Rollins School of Public Health. CHART researchers study the impacts of climate on health—with a focus on health-related illness in Atlanta and examining factors that may lead to disparities in illness outcomes—to help develop action-oriented strategies to protect the health of individuals and communities. 
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Extreme heat and floods are back in the Midwest. How does climate change play in? – HPPR

Sweaty city and state officials loaded donated air conditioners onto trucks in a St. Louis warehouse, passing the heavy boxes down the line. On this day, the thermometer soared to 103, the hottest temperature ever recorded on June 25 in the city.
The 800 cooling units were headed to low-income seniors and people with disabilities through an organization called Cool Down St. Louis. Gentry W. Trotter founded the organization almost 25 years ago and said on days like this, the hottest day of the year so far in the city, it’s clear climate change is causing problems in the Midwest.
“This heatwave ain’t going away, it’s going to get worse,” Trotter said. “And if people don’t believe in climate change, duh. They need to realize that it’s right here in our backyard each and every day.”

Extreme weather is returning to the Midwest as record-breaking flooding and heat have swept through the region, serving as a reminder that climate change is teeing up conditions that make these disasters more likely.
Heavy rainfall led to historic flooding in Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota at the end of June. More than 30 new records were likely broken in these states, according to preliminary data from the National Weather Service.
“The devastation is severe, and it’s widespread,” said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds at a press conference on June 23. “In almost every community impacted, the rivers crested several feet above record levels from the floods of 1993.”
Parts of northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota reported rain totals from 10 to 20 inches. In Iowa, Reynolds said nursing homes and hospitals had to evacuate and some communities were without power and drinking water.
Flooding also impacted northeast Nebraska, where water reached about three miles outside of its typical channel in Burt County.
Before the flood, Burt County farmer Randy Olson said his crop was one of the best he’d had in years — now, it’s basically destroyed. He said crop insurance will help him and his neighbors break even, but it still hurts the local economy.
“That is of course a ripple effect for the economy, because if nobody has money, nobody can spend money,” Olson said. “So it kind of goes around a little bit.”
But is this flooding due to climate change?
“When you’re asking about a specific event, you can’t answer that easily or automatically,” said Dennis Todey, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Midwest Climate Hub.
To link specific events to climate change, scientists model different scenarios to compare how events might have played out with different amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Without doing that, scientists can’t definitively answer if something happened because of climate change.
But warming temperatures are leading to new trends that Todey said are present in the Midwest right now, like increasing precipitation in late winter, spring and early summer, and overall larger precipitation events.
“You can’t just automatically go, ‘this was climate change,’” Todey said. “But because of the overall changes in our climate, there are fingerprints of climate that show up in most everything that we do. Because our climate is changing overall, there’s pieces of climate change no matter what happens.”

As humans release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the gases trap heat.
Radiation from the sun is absorbed into the Earth and emitted as a different type of radiation. Some of that goes back into space, but it’s natural for some of it to stick around, creating our hospitable planet. As humans burn fossil fuels and add more molecules like carbon to our atmosphere, we’re dialing up the amount of molecules that make radiation act differently.
“Without the gas, the radiation will just pass through. But these molecules create this filter that says, ‘Wait, hold on, hold on radiation, you cannot just go in one direction,’” said Stefan Liess, a climate scientist at the University of Minnesota’s Climate Adaptation Partnership.
As the radiation bounces around, it is warming the atmosphere and also increasing the amount of energy, which Liess said leads to more extreme weather.
A warmer atmosphere also holds more water. That can lead to heavy rainfall, said Zack Leasor, Missouri’s state climatologist.
“You’re increasing your supply of available potential rainfall with increasing temperatures, and so more extreme precipitation and those high-end events are what’s expected to occur with more warming temperatures,” Leasor said.
But there’s also an effect on the other side of the wetness scale. Huge dumps of rain are often followed by dry periods.
“From the overall climate change aspect, we’re seeing actually a lot more rapid transition or rapid variability back and forth between dry conditions and wet conditions,” Todey said. “And it’s even caused us to look at this from a different standpoint.”

Heat trends are also surprising some scientists in the Midwest. As average temperatures climb around the world, the region is also warming, but this part of the country isn’t reaching the extreme daytime highs being recorded in other regions of the U.S. as often. That doesn’t mean summers are cool.
On the June day that broke a St. Louis record, first responders had multiple calls for heat-related illness. St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said extreme temperatures put extra stress on people, but also on a city’s resources.
“It not only has a cumulative effect on the body, but it has a compounding effect on all the services within a region, from police to fire to EMS to the hospital systems,” Jenkerson said. “Everything gets strained.”

Despite these one-off hot days, the Midwest is actually in what scientists call a “warming hole.” Relative to other parts of the country, it hasn’t seen as many extreme high temperatures. Instead, warm nights and winters are driving the increasing averages.
Missouri, for example, has actually seen a decline in days hotter than 90 degrees in recent decades, Leasor said. But the state has also recorded five of the top 10 hottest years on record since 2000, with 2024 on track to break the top five as well.
“We’re seeing warmer temperatures, but we might have a different flavor of those heat waves,” Leasor said. “So still an increasing vulnerability to heat, absolutely, because of the warmer temperatures. But we kind of have these more hot and humid heat waves than just hot.”
This “warming hole” is expected to change in the coming years, Todey said, but scientists don’t know when. The humidity in the air also means it doesn’t cool as much overnight, which is a problem for humans and animals.
“The temperature itself may not be quite as high, but it’s still very uncomfortable to be outside and dangerous to be outside at times,” Todey said.
When temperatures climb, Chief Jenkerson said people should make sure to protect themselves and their neighbors.
“We tell people, keep the air conditioners on, check on your neighbors, check on your relatives, your older relatives and not only talk to them or call them on the phone, but go over there, visually look at them,” Jenkerson said.
This story was produced in partnership with Harvest Public Media, a collaboration of public media newsrooms in the Midwest. It reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues.
Nebraska Public Media’s Brian Beach of Nebraska Public Media and Iowa Public Radio’s Grant Gerlock and Sheila Brummer contributed to this report.
Copyright 2024 KCUR 89.3

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Engineering eco-friendly solvents: An AI approach for carbon capture, biomass processing – Phys.org


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July 9, 2024
This article has been reviewed according to Science X’s editorial process and policies. Editors have highlighted the following attributes while ensuring the content’s credibility:
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by Stephanie Seay,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed a method leveraging artificial intelligence to accelerate the identification of environmentally friendly solvents for industrial carbon capture, biomass processing, rechargeable batteries and other applications. The paper is published in the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation.
The research targets a class of solvents known for being nontoxic, biodegradable, highly stable, cost-effective, and reusable.
The scientists developed a method to predict solvent viscosity—a key property impacting performance for industrial applications. They compiled nearly 5,000 data points on 672 solvents, evaluated quantum chemical features that guide solvent molecular interactions, and deployed an algorithm called categorical boosting to quickly parse the data and determine the best candidates.
“We reduced computational time and complexity with our approach, while still incorporating all possible molecular interactions,” said ORNL’s Mohan Mood.
ORNL’s Michelle Kidder said, “Interpretable machine learning helps us to design solvents with desired properties for carbon capture by reducing experimental time and cost in the laboratory.”
More information: Mood Mohan et al, Accurate Machine Learning for Predicting the Viscosities of Deep Eutectic Solvents, Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation (2024). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.3c01163
Provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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