In this article the authors investigate whether there is a correlation between age of a person and their outlook on global issues such as technology, politics, and environment. They find a correlation between increased age and decreased optimism. However regardless of age, they find that respondents believe certain characteristics such as technology and willingness to change are essential for improvements.
Coral bleaching is a fatal process that reduces coral diversity, leads to habitat loss for marine organisms, and is a symptom of climate change. This process occurs when corals expel their symbiotic dinoflagellates, algae that photosynthesize within coral tissue providing corals with glucose. Restoration efforts have attempted to repair damaged reefs; however, there are over 360,000 square miles of coral reefs worldwide, making it challenging to target conservation efforts. Thus, predicting the likelihood of bleaching in a certain region would make it easier to allocate resources for conservation efforts. We developed a machine learning model to predict global locations at risk for coral bleaching. Data obtained from the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office consisted of various coral bleaching events and the parameters under which the bleaching occurred. Sea surface temperature, sea surface temperature anomalies, longitude, latitude, and coral depth below the surface were the features found to be most correlated to coral bleaching. Thirty-nine machine learning models were tested to determine which one most accurately used the parameters of interest to predict the percentage of corals that would be bleached. A random forest regressor model with an R-squared value of 0.25 and a root mean squared error value of 7.91 was determined to be the best model for predicting coral bleaching. In the end, the random model had a 96% accuracy in predicting the percentage of corals that would be bleached. This prediction system can make it easier for researchers and conservationists to identify coral bleaching hotspots and properly allocate resources to prevent or mitigate bleaching events.
The authors were interested in whether they could observe the effects of climate change by analyzing historical temperature data of two U.S. cities. They predicted that they should observe a warming trend in both cities. Their results showed that despite yearly variations, warming trends can be observed both in Rochester, NY and Seattle, WA which fit the predictions of climate change forecasts.
Triggered largely by the warming and pollution of oceans, corals are experiencing bleaching and a variety of diseases caused by the spread of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Identification of bleached/diseased corals enables implementation of measures to halt or retard disease. Benthic cover analysis, a standard metric used in large databases to assess live coral cover, as a standalone measure of reef health is insufficient for identification of coral bleaching/disease. Proposed herein is a solution that couples machine learning with crowd-sourced data – images from government archives, citizen science projects, and personal images collected by tourists – to build a model capable of identifying healthy, bleached, and/or diseased coral.
Climate records indicate that there has been a trend of decreasing annual snowfall totals throughout the United States during the peak winter season. However, New Jersey has seen a significant increase in snowfall over the past 126 years of recorded observations. The authors hypothesize that although annual snowfall has remained the same on average, the frequencies of major and minor snowfall events have noticeably increased. They found that there was no significant evidence for an increase in the frequency of minor events (1.1-inch to 4.0-inch events), but there was evidence for an increase in the frequency of major events (4.1+ inch events). The results imply that a warming climate might be opening up opportunities for more snowfall.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are promising new nanomaterials for use in the fight against climate change that can efficiently capture and convert CO2 to other useful carbon products. This research used computational models to determine the reaction conditions under which MOFs can more efficiently capture and convert CO2. In a cost-efficient manner, this analysis tested the hypothesis that pressure and temperature affect the efficacy of carbon capture and conversion, and contribute to understanding the optimal conditions for MOF performance to improve the use of MOFs for controlling greenhouse CO2 emissions.
Habitat loss and global warming remain present-day issues that continue to place pressures on various ecosystems and their species. The authors of this paper performed studies over two years to understand whether birds feed more from wooded or exposed areas.
In a world where plastic waste accumulation is threatening both land and sea life, Green et al. investigate the ability of mealworms to breakdown polystyrene, a non-recyclable form of petrochemical-based polymer we use in our daily lives. They confirm that these organisms, can degrade various forms of polystyrene, even after it has been put to use in our daily lives. Although the efficiency of the degradation process still requires improvement, the good news is, the worms are tiny and themselves are biodegradable, so we can use plenty of them without worrying about space and how to get rid of them. This is very promising and certainly good news for the planet.