Discovery News on pandas Emily Sohn reports on how climate change is affecting the giant panda population in China's Qinling Mountains. The amount of bamboo will dramatically decline, therefore eradicating between 80 and 100 percent of "livable panda habitat" by the end of this century. Adding to the problem, as Sohn explains, is that the mountains holding nearly 20 percent of the world's wild giant pandas are isolated. If the pandas' food source goes away, the pandas cannot migrate anywhere.
Grist on local food for D.C. Jim Epstein and Mark Seale founded Blue Ridge Produce to create a for-profit "food hub much like the many that have sprouted up around the country to help the local food industry scale up in recent years," Whitney Pipkin writes. Pipkin adds, "the fact that this model is being seen as an investment opportunity says something about the stability, inevitability, and urgency of the local food market." Epstein and Seale want Virginia farms, mostly involved in meat and dairy production, to start growing and selling fruits and vegetables. That said, the food the two are selling is for the most part not organic, even though they say they "strive" to make it so.
Scientific American on falling trees Mary Knudson turns to experts to explain why some trees fall in a storm and others don't. All three experts agree that one reason is "windthrow," the phenomenon that explains uprooting. “The tree trunk acts as a lever and so the force applied to the roots and trunk increases with height,” David Foster, director of Harvard Forest, told Knudson, adding: “Taller trees are more susceptible to windthrow.” William E. de Vos, the president of Treeworks, also noted that "urban trees in disturbed areas" are more at risk as are some species that tend to be susceptible to windthrow, like "balsam Fir, sometimes white spruce, willow, white pine, cedar, sometimes hemlock."
Politico on climate change and national security A report from the National Research Council warns that climate change will not simply threaten our well-being because of weather, but also because of "social and political disruption" that can undermine national security. Resources and supply chains can be at stake in climate change. Alex Guillen cites the oil trade as "an example of a global market that is heavily integrated and could be disrupted easily by climate change events."
The Guardian on sea ice One puzzling climate change question has had to do with the fact that sea ice has expanded in Antarctica, while Arctic sea ice has been depleted. But now, U.S. military satellites are helping scientists understand "the complexity of climate change." As Paul Holland of the British Antarctic Survey explained to Damian Carrington, "The Arctic is losing sea ice five times faster than the Antarctic is gaining it, so, on average, the Earth is losing sea ice very quickly. There is no inconsistency between our results and global warming." New research also showed that the amount of sea ice being lost varied in the Antarctic: Warm winds caused sea ice loss in some places when it was being added in others.