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Astrid Caldas
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Entries by Astrid Caldas

A Bird's Eye View of Conservation?

(2) Comments | Posted July 29, 2013 | 11:43 AM

While on a recent trip to Portugal, I was lucky enough to get a sighting of the fantastically colorful European bee-eater. While researching more about this bird, I was struck by how many different requirements it has throughout its life. It is a bird that spends spring and summer mostly...

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New Studies Back IPCC -- and Then Some

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2012 | 11:22 AM

Some exciting new studies related to climate change came out this past week, and I figured I'd bring them to attention. Why are they exciting? Because their findings are related to the much-maligned uncertainty of climate projections and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The first study...

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Climate Change, Extinctions and Edges

(24) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 8:23 PM

Co-written with Robert K. Robbins, Curator of Lepidoptera in the Department of Entomology, Smithsonian Institution

A previous post talked about tipping points and how hard it is to predict when things will change to a point of no return so that we can try to avoid it. A...

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Tipping Points

(28) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 4:04 PM

In their excellent 2006 book, Resilience Thinking, Brian Walker and David Salt talk about landscapes and communities being able to absorb disturbance without changing into a new state, or different regime. They mention the complexity of systems and how adaptable they must be in order to maintain their...

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Statistics, Models, Weather, and Climate

(14) Comments | Posted August 7, 2012 | 2:41 PM

One of the most complex (and, for some, controversial) aspects of climate change studies is that many are based on models. Models are mathematical tools that basically spit out results that are based on the assumptions and data that you feed them. Feed them different assumptions or data, and they...

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If Only People Understood Science Better...

(43) Comments | Posted June 1, 2012 | 2:05 PM

...they might understand climate change better, right? Wrong! At least, according to a paper just published in the journal Nature Climate Change. That paper evaluated the perception of risk from climate change in a representative sample of U.S. adults assigned to two categories: "egalitarian communitarian" and "hierarchical individualist"...

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Small Steps, Big Difference

(3) Comments | Posted April 17, 2012 | 6:14 PM

It is not uncommon for people to dismiss small steps as useless or not worth the effort. It's no different with the environment. It's easier to throw the plastic bottle in the trash than to find a recycling bin -- it's just one bottle anyway. We see it all the...

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Shooting the Messenger Is Not the Answer

(37) Comments | Posted February 10, 2012 | 9:48 AM

Note to readers: This post builds on the one taken down last week. Many apologies.

Yet another blog post commenting on the WSJ debacle about non-climate scientists' opinions versus climate scientists' opinions got me thinking (again) why the conversation about climate...

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Whatever Happened to "We Agree to Disagree"?

(6) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 2:25 PM

I am going to piggyback on the WSJ debacle, namely the op-ed signed by 16 scientists stating there was "no need to panic over global warming", and the response letter signed by climate scientists, which states that the op-ed was the "climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing...

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Towards a Better Understanding of Climate Effects on Species

(2) Comments | Posted February 1, 2012 | 8:45 AM

Most portrayals of the effects of climate change on wildlife and ecosystems assume that species will simply shift towards the poles or upslope to follow their optimal climate conditions as the earth warms. But species are much more complicated than that: no species exists on its own; rather, an unknown...

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Sustainability Is in the Air

(6) Comments | Posted January 3, 2012 | 2:57 PM

I just returned from a trip to Brazil. At Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro, while waiting for the plane to start taxiing for take off, I glanced at the next plane over and was surprised to read on the engine that it was powered by biofuel.

I looked...

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Is a Better Forecast in Our Future?

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2011 | 12:30 PM

A recent new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- the SREX -- addresses the issue of extreme weather and climate change, and how likely it is that those two are related. Among the changes that the report says are very likely to occur worldwide due...

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Extreme Weather Is a Thing of the Future: So Says The IPCC, and We Should Believe Them

(1) Comments | Posted November 2, 2011 | 3:42 PM

A new IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report obtained by the Associated Press emphasizes that extreme weather events are "a noticeable aspect of climate change" and states that there is a 2 in 3 probability that man-made greenhouse gases have exacerbated recent extreme weather events. The report...

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Underestimation Is Never a Good Thing When It Comes to Risks

(2) Comments | Posted October 20, 2011 | 2:40 PM

A recent blog by Climate Progress brought to mind some musings about human nature that I have had for a while. Human nature is an interesting beast. There are issues for which we will fight to death, and there are ones on which we tread very carefully....

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Home Runs and Climate Change: A Sports Analogy

(8) Comments | Posted September 23, 2011 | 2:14 PM

Recently, presidential historian Doug Brinkley gave an interview on MSNBC where he stated that "We need a presidential prime time address on global warming." He said so in the context of President Obama's response to Hurricane Irene, and how that might have been a missed opportunity to address...

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Personal Values and Climate Change

(1) Comments | Posted September 14, 2011 | 11:54 AM

I mentioned on a previous post the importance of tailoring a message to the intended audience to achieve rapport and successful communication. In short, people understand messages that make sense to them. I did not mention that people's values and beliefs are critical for perfecting one's message. Factors...

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The Science of Communicating Science

(3) Comments | Posted August 19, 2011 | 11:44 AM

A scientist and a layperson enter a bar... Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right? However, if there is to be a punch line, those two must be able to talk with each other -- in other words, communicate. Or not -- in the case of a joke, not...

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Suspicious Minds in Alaska

(11) Comments | Posted August 12, 2011 | 10:31 AM

The suspension of Department of the Interior scientist Charles Monnett due to an investigation for "integrity issues" has raised the suspicion that the whole affair was related to his 2006 polar bear study suggesting that bears had drowned while swimming long distances. That paper brought attention to global warming and...

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Arctic Ice, Polar Bears and... Soot?

(2) Comments | Posted August 2, 2011 | 12:31 PM

You have probably heard about melting Arctic ice and the drastic decrease in glacier size. You may have seen it yourself during a trip to a favorite spot, and mourned the loss of beautiful snow covered views. And while you may be aware that the increase...

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