You can even help contribute to hurricane-related research. A team from Purdue University and the University of Utah want to study water isotopes collected from the storm, and they're calling on citizens on the Eastern seaboard—and especially those further inland in states like Kentucky and West Virginia—to gather samples while riding out the storm. This information will help them understand where the water originated, how it got to the Eastern seaboard, and basic insight into the molecular diversity of different samples.
In times like these, everyone wants instant answers from scientists about what's going on. But for now, we'll have to be patient. Real science insight takes time to arrive at, and for the moment we'll have to take comfort in knowing that the experts are working on it. [BoingBoing]
U.N. reports on link between climate change and infectious disease. While storms are reminding us how global warming effects extreme weather, the U.N. is also reminding us that changing climates often lead to flare-ups of infectious disease. The World Health Organization and the World Meteorological Organization today jointly released their Atlas of Health and Climate. The document is meant to help world leaders prepare for the kinds of disease outbreaks that accompany bad weather. It draws on years of epidemiological research, presenting information on how meningitis has spread through sub-Saharan Africa during dry spells while dengue fever goes on the rise during heavy rainfall. Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the U.N. health agency, says, "Many diseases including malaria, dengue, meningitis ... are what we call climate-sensitive diseases, because such climate dimensions for rainfall, humidity and temperature would influence the epidemics, the outbreaks, either directly influencing the parasites or the mosquitoes that carry them." [Bloomberg]
Domestic U.S. emissions down, but trigger rise in coal use elsewhere. The United States has been increasingly relying on energy derived from shale gas, which has caused CO2 emissions within our borders to decline 8.6 percent since 2005. But that only looks like an improvement to those wearing domestic blinders. Massive amounts of unused American coal are being exported, which cuts the reductions in half when taking into account global emissions. Those are the findings detailed in a new paper from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research's Dr. John Broderick, titled Has US Shale Gas Reduced CO2 Emissions? "It is the total quantity of CO2 from the energy system that matters to the climate," Broderick writes. "Despite lower-carbon rhetoric, shale gas is still a carbon intensive energy source. We must seriously consider whether a so-called 'golden age' would be little more than a gilded cage, locking us into a high-carbon future.' [The University of Manchester]