YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
Cutting out fossil fuels won’t be enough to save the planet, according to the latest IPCC report. We as a species, they say, need to fundamentally transform our relationship with the land to stand any hope of fighting climate change. The report concludes that cutting emissions doesn’t fix the broken systems that underlie it, and takes steps to quantify how our abuse of the land—deforestation, industrial agriculture, draining of carbon-capturing peatlands—is driving climate change.
Climate change made the stifling heat that enveloped parts of Europe last week much more likely and hotter, researchers said Friday. The heat wave set new temperature records across the continent and has since moved north over Greenland, causing the surface of the island’s vast ice sheet to melt at near-record levels. Analysis of satellite data by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado showed that melting this week extended across 380,000 square miles, or about 60 percent of the total ice area. Greenland’s ice sheet is nearly two miles thick in places, and if all of it were to melt, global sea levels would rise about 24 feet.
An autonomous SharkCam which was deployed in July around the Inner Hebrides islands off Scotland has captured wide-angle, high-definition video of sharks that have been tagged, with the team now wading through the footage. It is hoped the technology might shed new light on the behavior of the world’s second largest fish – and possibly even reveal whether the creatures breed in Scottish waters. The yellow torpedo-shaped device is owned and operated by the US-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and has so far shown basking sharks feeding near the surface and moving through the water.
Environmental success stories are in short supply, but the fall of mercury is one of them. From 1995 to 2010, mercury concentrations in the Northern Hemisphere fell by 30%, thanks to aggressive regulations, falling coal use, and a phaseout in commercial goods. You’d expect that mercury levels in fish would have also fallen, but researchers have found that fish contain more mercury because of overfishing and climate change, both of which are nudging fish toward pursuing more heavily contaminated prey.
The secret behind the eerie glow of two shark species has been revealed in a study which sheds light on the origin and possible advantages of their fluorescent green bodies. Chain catsharks and swell sharks are deep-dwelling and live in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific respectively, where they hide among rocks and rubble. Scientists have now pinpointed the chemicals behind the phenomenon, which not only cause the green glow, but possibly help defend the sharks against harmful microbes.