the arctic tundra ecosystem at Toolik Field Station with the Brooks Range in the background.
(Image by Daniel Obrist)

The cycle of mercury pollution in the Arctic tundra

Human activity has been a major source of mercury pollution in the Arctic, and a new study has identified the form most often taken by the pollutant: gaseous elemental mercury (GEM). The News & Views article discusses how the Arctic tundra acts as a major sink for mercury, as the local plants uptake GEM from the […]

Adélie penguin at Lovill Bluff Colony, Mt Siple, West Antarctica. (Image by Jasmine Lee/Australian Antarctic Division)

A rare look at the potential effects of climate change on terrestrial species in Antarctica

Much research has been dedicated to studying the effects of climate change and global warming on the Antarctic ice sheet and sea levels; but the same can’t be said about the ice-free parts of the region, which cover less than 1% of the continent. Researchers modelled the potential effect of climate change under two Intergovernmental […]


Killer heatwaves are more common than we think

Results of an extensive literature review show that lethal heatwaves are more common than previously thought, and suggest that the extreme heat conditions will continue to arise even if greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced in the future. Researchers found over 1,900 cases of locations worldwide since 1980 where heatwaves have killed people, and identified […]

Polar bear on sea ice near Beaufort Sea,
 Alaska. (Image by anim1865 via Flickr CC BY 2.0 )

Lower mercury levels in polar bears could be a sign of climate-related diet shift

A drop in mercury levels was discovered among southern Beaufort Sea polar bears, something the researchers say may suggest a changing diet and a shift in foraging habits. Scientists collected hair samples from Beaufort polar bears over a seven-year period, and measured the mercury concentration in these samples. Results showed a 13% drop in mercury […]

Reducing ambiguity in the Paris Agreement can help better estimate its benefits

Estimates in greenhouse gas reductions on the terms of the Paris Agreement can be improved by 10%, if participating countries make a commitment to submit their climate plans every five years. Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius by 2030. However, the current result estimates vary by as much as […]

Dr. Ku'ulei Rodgers conducting coral bleaching survey.
(Image by Keisha Bahr)

Hawaiian corals at risk of extinction due to climate change, despite protection

Researchers have documented a third global coral bleaching event, which ended just in 2016, at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (HBNP) on the island of O’ahu, Hawai’i. They found that 47% of reef flat corals at HBNP bleached overall and 9.8% of corals died at Hanauma Bay during this time. This means that, despite their […]


Climate Change, Extreme Heat and Health | SMCC Backgrounder

  There is no denying it and no doubt about it: our planet is warming and climate change is well underway, around the world and right here in Canada. And extreme heat events are one of the consequences. Periods of extreme heat are uncomfortable, but they can also exacerbate existing health conditions, such as asthma, and […]

This photograph shows a close-up of the hummocky terrain of a moss bank surface, Green Island. (Image by Matt Amesbury)

Moss study reveals widespread climate change in the Antarctic

Moss from additional sites on the Antarctic Peninsula has allowed scientists to get a clear picture of the ecological changes the region underwent over the past 50 years. A new study builds on previous research from 2013, where scientists studied mosses and microbes growing at the southern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. In the recent […]

Western spotted skunk is shown doing its characteristic hand-stand when spraying. (Image by Jerry W. Dragoo)

Ice Age climate change more important than geological barriers in spotted skunk evolution

The evolution of Western spotted skunks—tiny, maze-patterned carnivores with a unique hand-stand spraying technique—was influenced by climate change, not geological barriers, new research suggests. Spotted skunks can be found throughout western United States and Mexico, living in a variety of climates. Studying the evolution of skunks may seem arbitrary, but in fact, these small carnivores provide […]

The view from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Rothera research station, on Alexander Island at the Antarctic Peninsula. (Image by A. E. Hogg/CPOM)

Antarctic Peninsula ice more stable than previously reported, according to satellite study

A recent assessment of glacier flow in Western Palmer Land on the Antarctic Peninsula reveals that sea-ice loss in the region isn’t as drastic as previously reported. Using five different satellites, researchers tracked changes in the speed of more than 30 glaciers over the past 25 years. Their findings provide evidence that Western Palmer Land […]

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