change Plans

DHS plans to change military-style camouflage uniforms seen in Portland – The Washington Post

The United States continues to grapple with the reckoning spurred by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, as the Department of Homeland Security says it is swapping out the military-style camouflage uniforms that U.S. border agents wore on the streets of Portland, Ore., last month.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) said the city is working to pair new police officers with “the right individuals” for training, while Aurora, Colo., which has faced scrutiny after the death of Elijah McClain last year, has chosen Vanessa Wilson as its new police chief, the first woman to permanently lead the agency.
  • Tulsa officials temporarily suspended an order to remove a Black Lives Matter display after protesters placed symbolic tombstones bearing the names of Black people shot by police or killed in the city’s 1921 race massacre.
  • The House Intelligence Committee is opening an investigation into the activities of the Intelligence and Analysis Office at DHS, which compiled “intelligence reports” on journalists.
  • The second-ranking official at DHS, Ken Cuccinelli, told lawmakers Tuesday that the department will change its uniforms after complaints about their “militarylike appearance” at protests.

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U.S. officials change virus risk groups, add pregnant women – Alabama’s News Leader

U.S. officials change virus risk groups, add pregnant women – Alabama’s News Leader
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change Climate

Climate Change Could Mean More Of Antarctica Turning Green With Algae – HuffPost

The algal blooms that blanket parts of Antarctica’s snow cover in the summer are likely to expand as the planet warms, researchers say in a new study.

A research team from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey used satellite data and on-the-ground observations to put together the first large-scale map of green algae across the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Green snow algae is found in warmer areas along the coastline where summer temperatures are above freezing, but still cold enough for there to be snow, say scientists in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. It’s also more abundant in areas in close proximity to nesting sites and gathering places for animals like penguins and seals, whose feces fuel the algae’s growth.

Green algae isn’t new for Antarctica ― it’s known to have been there to some degree for decades, New Scientist notes. But what researchers found suggests that climate change could have a major impact on algae in Antarctica, which, in turn, could have its own impact on a warming planet.

The scientists don’t predict that green algae will spread on all parts of the peninsula. In fact, some small low-lying islands are likely to lose algae, because those islands may lose their summer snow cover altogether ― and the snow algae can’t grow without snow. But they predict the amount of green algae is likely to grow on larger pieces of land, where it can spread upward to higher ground that still has snow.

“As Antarctica warms, we predict the overall mass of snow algae will increase, as the spread to higher ground will significantly outweigh the loss of small island patches of algae,” University of Cambridge researcher Andrew Gray said in a press release.

So what does more algae mean, besides turning the landscape green? It’s not totally clear. The green algae works as a carbon sink ― the current amount of algae in Antartica pulls about 500 tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year. On the other hand, algae also makes the surface of the snow darker, which leads to less sunlight being reflected from the snow’s surface, Scientific American notes. That means that more of the sun’s heat gets absorbed, speeding up warming.

Additionally, Antarctica has other algae as well ― large red and orange algal blooms, which the scientists plan to research and map in future studies.

University of Cambridge researcher Matt Davey said in a video about the study that the overall goal of their work is a greater understanding of the “complex connections” between different life forms in Antarctica.

“The more we understand, the more we can protect our planet and its fragile ecosystems that could be lost or changed forever,” he said.

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change Climate

Climate change is causing Antarctica’s snow to turn green, study says – CBS News

Penguins at risk in Antarctica

In coastal Antarctica, some snow isn’t white — it’s green. And while small amounts of the green snow have been visible for years, it’s starting to spread across the continent because of climate change.

According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications, the vibrant color is caused by microscopic algae blooming across the surface of the snow. Using satellite data and fieldwork observations, a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey have created the first large-scale map of the green algae and predicted the future spread of the bizarre snow. 

Green snow appears along the Antarctic coast, growing in “warmer” areas, where the average temperatures reach just above freezing in the summer. Although the individual algae are microscopic, when they grow at scale, the green snow can even be seen from space. 

For the study, the team combined on-the-ground research from two summers in the Antarctic Peninsula with images from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellite taken between 2017 and 2019. In total, the team identified over 1,600 separate algal blooms on the snow surface. 

Lead author Matt Davey samples snow algae on Lagoon Island, Antarctica. 

Sarah Vincent

The team found that the distribution of green snow algae is strongly influenced by marine birds and mammals, because their excrement works extremely well as fertilizer. Over 60% of blooms were found near penguin colonies, and others were found near birds’ nesting sites. 

“This is a significant advance in our understanding of land-based life on Antarctica, and how it might change in the coming years as the climate warms,” lead author Dr. Matt Davey of the University of Cambridge said in a press release.

If bird populations are strongly affected by climate change, as they likely will be, the algae could lose key sources of nutrients. But the results of the study indicate that green snow will massively spread as global temperatures rise.

That’s because in order to flourish, the organisms need an available supply of water. Temperatures on the peninsula where the green snow is found have risen dramatically in recent decades, increasing the amount of water available.

As the planet warms and more of Antarctica’s snow melts, the algae will spread, the scientists said. And while some algae will be lost to areas that lose snow altogether, much more will be gained.

A photograph showing Anchorage Island dominated by green algae starting to melt out from beneath surface snow on January 26, 2018. 

Nature Communications

“As Antarctica warms, we predict the overall mass of snow algae will increase, as the spread to higher ground will significantly outweigh the loss of small island patches of algae,” said co-lead author Dr. Andrew Gray, of the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh.

It’s unclear how the spreading algae will affect the planet. It plays a key role in cycling nutrients and pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, Davey said, but also darkens snow, and absorbs more heat from the sun.

The amount of algae found by the team creates a carbon sink that absorbs about 500 tons of carbon each year, the equivalent of about 875,000 average car journeys in the U.K., researchers said.

The amount of algae found is actually a conservative estimate, because the satellite was only capable of picking up green algae, missing its red and orange counterparts. “The snow is multi-colored in places, with a palette of reds, oranges and greens — it’s quite an amazing sight,” Davey said. 

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