Author: Christopher Joyce, NPR

  • Rising sea levels will change the ecology of the Everglades

    The Florida Everglades is a swampy wilderness the size of Delaware. In some places along the road in southern Florida, it looks like tall saw grass to the horizon, a prairie punctuated with a few twisted cypress trees. The sky is the palest blue.But beneath the surface a different story is unfolding. Because of climate change and sea level rise, the ocean is starting to seep into the swampland. If the invasion grows worse, it could drastically change the Everglades, and a way of life for millions of residents in South Florida.

  • How do we know an extreme weather event might be caused by climate change?

    Nowadays, when there’s a killer heat wave or serious drought somewhere, people wonder: Is this climate change at work? It’s a question scientists have struggled with for years. And now there’s a new field of research that’s providing some answers. It’s called “attribution science” — a set of principles that allow scientists to determine when it’s a change in climate that’s altering weather events … and when it isn’t. The principles start with the premise that, as almost all climate scientists expect, there will be more “extreme” weather events if the planet warms up much more: heat waves, droughts, huge storms.

  • Atlantic Weather May Be Key Culprit In Fish Decline

    The striped bass is in trouble again. During the 1980s, wildlife managers said these big, full-bodied fish — favorites of anglers along the East Coast — were overfished. So they laid down severe catch limits. The population recovered, and fishing resumed in what is considered one of conservation’s great success stories. But now catches are down again, and some biologists say the problem may not be overfishing this time: It could be the weather. Nearly 70 percent of the country’s striped bass come to the Chesapeake Bay to lay their eggs, including inlets like this one, where the Choptank and Tred Avon rivers meet. Brad Burns, who started fishing for striped bass in 1960, says he and his fellow anglers, Stripers Forever, are singing the blues about striped bass. “What we hear from people that go striped bass fishing — the general trend very decidedly is down,” Burns says.