Friday, November 09, 2012

Loose Feathers #366

Western Grebe and chicks / Photo by Dan Nelson (USFWS)
Birds and birding
Nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • President Obama's re-election this week means that his EPA will be able to proceed with regulations on greenhouse gas emissions if it chooses. However, what the administration will be able to accomplish on this front will be limited by Congressional opposition and the administration's embrace of an "all of the above" energy policy.
  • Hurricane Sandy has entered the climate change conversation; whether it will spur significant action remains to be seen.
  • One thing that may result from Sandy is the erection of barriers to protect New York Harbor from storm surges. There are various proposals floating around; one is to ring Manhattan and Brooklyn with artificial wetlands that would serve as parks most of the time but absorb some of the energy of storm surges that enter the harbor. Floodgates are another option.
  • Monsoon failures may become more common in India thanks to climate change.
  • Deforestation can be detected from space via a NASA satellite. Recent data shows extensive deforestation in South American and West Africa.
  • A 2001-2002 drought in the Rocky Mountains made the mountain pine beetle infestation much worse.
  • An extremely rare whale, the spade-toothed beaked whale, was found beached in New Zealand. It was the first time the species was recorded as a complete specimen, and it was only identified by DNA testing.