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Climate Change Could Trigger ‘Boom And Bust’ Population Cycles Leading To Extinction

Univ. of Chicago Press Journals via Science Daily
Climate change could trigger “boom and bust” population cycles that make animal species more vulnerable to extinction. , according to Christopher C. Wilmers, an assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Understanding how environmental changes influence fluctuations in animal populations is crucial to predicting and mitigating the influence of global climate change. In a paper that appears in the May issue of The American Naturalist, Wilmers describes a powerful new mathematical model that evaluates how climate and resources interact with populations, including a fine-grained analysis of impacts on juveniles, reproducing adults, and adults.

In areas where climate change leads to more “good years,” with the occasional poor year still occurring, populations will fluctuate dramatically and be more prone to extinction as a result, said Wilmers.
(17 Apr 2007)

Global warming may put U.S. in hot water

Seth Borenstein, Associated Press
As the world warms, water — either too little or too much of it — is going to be the major problem for the United States, scientists and military experts said Monday. It will be a domestic problem, with states clashing over controls of rivers, and a national security problem as water shortages and floods worsen conflicts and terrorism elsewhere in the world, they said.

At home, especially in the Southwest, regions will need to find new sources of drinking water, the Great Lakes will shrink, fish and other species will be left high and dry, and coastal areas will on occasion be inundated because of sea-level rises and souped-up storms, U.S. scientists said.

The scientists released a 67-page chapter on North American climate effects, which is part of an international report on climate change impact.

Meanwhile, global-warming water problems will make poor, unstable parts of the world — the Middle East, Africa and South Asia — even more prone to wars, terrorism and the need for international intervention, a panel of retired military leaders said in a separate report.
(16 April 2007)
One of the reports mentioned is the one from CNA, for which EB published a summary.

Warming Predicted to Take Severe Toll on U.S.

Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post
Climate change will exact a major cost on North America’s timber industry and could drive as much as 40 percent of its plant and animal species to extinction in a matter of decades, according to a new report from an international panel.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which released its summary report on global warming’s overall impact earlier this month, provided a more detailed assessment yesterday of the effects on North America. The report, written and edited by dozens of scientists, looks at how global warming has begun to transform the continent and how it is likely to affect it in the future.

The 67-page report, which examines everything from freshwater ecosystems to tourism, said North America has suffered severe environmental and economic damage because of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, heat waves and forest fires. Without “increased investments in countermeasures,” the authors wrote that they are at least 90 percent sure that “hot temperatures and extreme weather are likely to cause increased adverse health impacts from heat-related mortality, pollution, storm-related fatalities and injuries, and infectious diseases.”
(17 Apr 2007)

Smog, heat waves may contribute to big rise in illness

Jane Kay, SF Chronicle
Higher temperatures over the coming decades are expected to cause more smoggy days and heat waves, contributing to a greater number of illnesses and deaths in the United States, according to international climate scientists.

Severe heat waves — characterized by stagnant masses of warm air and consecutive nights with high minimum temperatures — will intensify in the United States and Canada, according to the data on North America released Monday by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Southern California, the Southwest and the upper Midwest are already experiencing drought. Late in the century, in Los Angeles, the number of heat wave days is projected to increase from 12 days a year to between 44 and 95 days, the report said. The number of heat wave days in Chicago is expected to increase by 25 percent.

Just how much people and ecosystems suffer in North America, scientists reported, depends on how well greenhouse gases are controlled. And, the scientists cautioned, it depends on how well they plan for and try to prevent the damage.

“Without increased investments in countermeasures, hot temperatures and extreme weather are likely to cause increased adverse health impacts,” including effects from heat, storms, pollution and infectious disease, the report said.

Adding to the problem is that the Baby Boomer population is aging as global warming worsens, increasing the number of people most at risk of dying in heat waves.
(17 Apr 2007)
Also at Common Dreams.