Formosan Subterranean Termites Scott Bauer/USDA/Flickr CC by 2.0 You know all those stories where humans accidentally create a monster that eventually runs amok and destroys everything? That cautionary tale is playing out in real-time in Florida right now. With termites. In a new study published in PLOS One scientists found that two incredibly invasive species of termite, the Formosan subterranean termite and Asian subterranean termite, have started breeding, giving birth to a new race of super-strong, highly adaptable termites that are itching to devour your hardwoods. And it's all our fault. The two termite species, which originated in separate areas of Asia, spread across the world by hitchhiking in cargo holds. There are only three places in the world where both species have a foothold: Hawaii, Taiwan, and South Florida, but usually the ants' mating seasons don't overlap. In Florida, the Asian subterranean termite mates in February, months before the Formosan. But in both 2013 and 2014 researchers observed both species mating at the same time, producing large broods of hybrid termites. The researchers note in the paper that both years had warm winters in Florida, hinting that climate change could have forced the change in mating season. Hybridization between invasive species is a very rare occurrence according to the researchers, who are waiting to see if the first generations of hybrids can reproduce. If they can, the worst case scenario would be a new kind of termite capable of thriving in climates from North Carolina to Brazil, Thomas Chouvenc, author of the study told Live Science. But even if they can't reproduce, this new pest could still pose a huge environmental problem. Even if they don't reproduce, a colony of hybrids could contain millions of termites, which could live for up to 20 years, chewing their way through farms and cities. It's a classic case of 'if you build it, they will probably already be there, gnawing on your two by fours.'
Typhoon Maysak has picked up speed and is now the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane with 145 mile per hour winds.
In parts of South Carolina and Georgia the sky was filled with massive, rolling clouds known as undulatus asperatus, which means agitated wave.
Deadly flooding batters the north of Chile.
07:57AM ET 03.30.15 Meteorologist Jim Cantore shows the timing of two clippers headed for the Midwest and Northeast bringing snow this week.
<p>The study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is based on a section of fossilized ocean fauna found on the seafloor off the coast of California dating to between 3,400 and 16,100 years ago. </p>
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy suggested on Monday that building the Keystone XL pipeline would not spell game over for the planet. "No, I don't think that any one issue is a disaster for the climate," McCarthy said when asked if the controversial oil -ands pipeline would be a climate disaster at an event hosted by Politico's Mike Allen. McCarthy went on to say, "Nor do I think there's any one solution to the climate-change ...
Crowds gather for picnics in Tokyo to welcome the coming spring under cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Tara Cleary reports.
3D Printed Weather Station Kelly Sponberg, NOAA Weather is free, of course, but predicting it, and anticipating changes like sudden storms or flash floods--that takes technical equipment and sensors. Thanks to 3D printing and cheap commercial electronics, USAID thinks they can bring weather stations to the developing world. And they should only cost about $200 each. The 3D-printed weather stations are a collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and USAID. Printers make most of the parts, which makes it easy to locally build replacement parts when something breaks. The stations include a rain gauge and sensors for wind-speed, humidity, and pressure, as well as radiation shielding to prevent sunlight from damaging the equipment. The information recorded by the sensors is sent to ultra-cheap Raspberry Pi computers. The computer will do some data analysis on the spot, and can be set up with a tablet to display the information for a station operator to see. The information can also be sent beyond the station for analysis by meteorologists elsewhere. In a blog post discussing the project, USAID notes that commercial weather stations can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Weatherhawk stations retail for almost $7000, and Columbia Weather Stations’ Pulsar system starts at $7020. Home weather stations can easily run from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and only when looking at toy weather stations do we consistently see cheaper prices than USAID’s $200 3D-printed units. (NOAA also has a great instructional booklet for making a rudimentary DIY weather station from paper cups, pencils, and other home goods, by the way). The technology will be demonstrated at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction this week. Last summer, researchers began testing the station in Boulder, Colorado, and since then they’ve been blogging about their improvements to the project. USAID plans to set up pilot studies in one or two countries before deploying it over a wider scale. A low price combined with easy repair and simple data recording means these weather stations could greatly expand the ability to predict and prepare for natural disasters. [3DPrint]
MARCH 30, 2015; 10:50 AM Giant mounds of ice and snow have washed up on the shores of the St Lawrence River in Quebec amid the first signs of Spring.
Volcán de Colima erupted again on the morning of March 27, and the explosion was all caught on film. This eruption was one of the biggest we have yet seen from the volcano, sending ash plumes over 4km into the air. The eruption also unleashed a large pyroclastic flow onto the slopes. Credit: YouTube/webcamsdemexico
Copenhagen and Melbourne have committed to the most aggressive carbon reduction goals on the planet. Now those two cities _ homes to 4.5 million people _ have been joined by a perhaps unlikely companion on the fast track to carbon neutrality: the Colorado college town of Fort Collins, home to 150,000. This month, the city approved new targets to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. Those goals place Fort Collins among a handful...
08:12AM ET 03.30.15 Meteorologist Jim Cantore goes over the timing of stormy weather that will result in warm weather ahead for some.
Chile's government said on Monday that 17 people have been killed and 20 are still missing after torrential...
At first sight the Salton Sea looks putrid, with dead fish scattered among patches of fetid water in a vast salty lake in the middle of the Californian desert.
Budget Travel's Firpo Cappiello stops by WUWA to talk about some of the best spots to see spring come into bloom.
Reduced pollution in the Los Angeles Basin has resulted in significantly better lung function for children today compared to children from the same communities...
In 2012, when the High Park Fire tore through a northern Colorado forest replete with dead trees left in the wake of a mountain pine beetle infestation, blame for the fire’s spread across 87,000 acres was often placed primarily on the beetles. The High Park Fire, which killed one person and destroyed 259 homes, and the attention to the beetles in its wake were part of the impetus for a new University of Colorado study showing that bark beetle infestations and the dead trees they leave behind have almost no effect on the amount of land burned in U.S. wildfires each year. A forest full of dead trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the West. ), which isn’t surprising.” It can be difficult for scientists to tease out recent effects of climate change on wildfire because forest management practices have changed in different ways across the West in recent decades, he said. However, scientists have a good understanding of the impact climate change can have on fuel moistures, length of burning season, and other factors affecting how forests burn, so continued climate change is expected to increase the land area burned in catastrophic wildfire, Hicke said. “There is an incredibly strong consensus amongst many forest ecologists that it’s really drought driven by climate change events that is the key driving factor for these fire events,” Colorado State University wildlife ecologist Barry Noon, who was a co-author of a 2012 study showing higher temperatures are driving both wildfires and the spread of bark beetles, said. The new study is consistent with much of the previous research pointing to drought as the driving force behind catastrophic wildfire. “When we have warm and dry conditions, fuels dry out enough that we have widespread fire regardless that we have mountain pine beetle-kill in the forest,” Hart said.
Hundreds of Kashmiris in both India and Pakistan moved to higher ground Monday as rain-swollen rivers swamped parts of the disputed Himalayan region placed under an emergency flood alert just six months...
<p>A series of strong earthquakes struck off the neighboring South Pacific Ocean states of Samoa and Tonga on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, just hours after a major tremor rattled Papua New Guinea to the west.</p>
On March 29, 1848, a massive ice jam reduced the mighty Niagara Falls to a trickle, a rare phenomenon that lasted for nearly 40 hours. The ice jam developed...
The spring snowmelt now comes more than two weeks earlier than it did in the 1970s in Wyoming's Wind River Range, a new study finds. The trend is...
Through a combination of hydropower, solar power, and geothermic energy, Costa Rica has managed to use no fossil fuels for the first 75 days of 2015.
Dozens of firefighters battled a wind-fueled wildfire in southern Montana that prompted the shot-term evacuation of a ski lodge.
In 1985, a 28-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh quit his government job, left his family and arrived in the dead of the night at a small village in Rajasthan’s Alwar district. Rajendra Singh, along with four companions from the Tarun Bharat Sangh, a non-profit that traces its origins to the University of Rajasthan, wanted to work in the […]
News cycles tend to be dominated by horror and carnage — a recipe for depression that spills into climate change coverage, fueling what some experts call a ‘hope gap’ that can lead people to fret about global warming but feel powerless to do anything about it.