Giant curtain built in Peru to study climate change in the cloud forests

January 5, 2018 by  
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Biologist Dan Metcalfe is leading a study that seeks to understand how climate change may impact the cloud forests of Peru and elsewhere by using a giant curtain to affect the local environment. A professor at Lund University in Sweden, Metcalfe describes his unprecedented plan as “an experimental approach where we actually physically try to remove clouds from a portion of the forest.” Cloud forests are unique ecosystems, which, although small in land area, provide enormous regional ecological benefits. Despite their importance, there has been little research on how climate change may impact cloud forests. Metcalfe’s study will test how the forest reacts to reduced cloud and moisture cover in hopes of understanding what is in store for these precious habitats. At only 1 percent of the world’s total forested area, cloud forests are well adapted to mountainside locations near the equator between 500-4,000 meters (1640-13,000 feet) in elevation. Cloud forests function as moisture banks for rivers and lowland habitats, storing water in its spongy soil and releasing it when needed down below during a dry spell. Many species of plants and animals are endemic to cloud forests and may face threats to their habitat due to climate change. Scientists suspect that clouds will form further uphill, leaving the forest to deal with decreased levels of moisture. Metcalfe’s experiment intends to observe what effects this change might have on the forests and those who call it home. Related: Fly through Ecuador’s cloud forest on a human-powered sky bike! After earlier curtain designs proved impractical, Metcalfe salvaged a damaged tower not longer suitable for climbing to rig up a ten-story tall curtain. Even after reaching a final plan, Metcalfe’s project continued to endure delays and obstacles. A key team member became sick, essential gear was destroyed by fire , and Metcalfe’s wife gave birth to two children, limiting travel to Peru. After four years of work, the curtain is almost finished and extensive data on the cloud forest and climate change will soon be arriving. Via the Guardian Images via William Ferguson/Wake Forest University ,  Dan Metcalfe/Lund University , and  Caroline Granycome/Flickr

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Giant curtain built in Peru to study climate change in the cloud forests

It’s so cold that frozen iguanas are falling off trees in Florida

January 5, 2018 by  
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When frigid temperatures hit Florida , most humans can go inside, snuggle up, and wait it out. Not so for iguanas. According to reports from local residents, the reptiles were falling from trees onto roads, gardens, and even windshields. This doesn’t mean all the iguanas were dead – they were stunned, and there’s a chance they could come back to live when they warmed up. Zoo Miami communications director Ron Magill told The New York Times the reptiles “literally shut down, and they can no longer hold on to the trees.” Related: Fire ants swarm into floating rafts to survive Harvey Sad part- he prolly wasn’t dead but I didn’t know how to help! My neighbours used to put out heated cinder blocks and mago during cold nights to keep them alive. Sorry buddy. #floridawinter #38degrees #frozeniguana #notgeicogecko A post shared by Kristen (@seasthaday) on Jan 4, 2018 at 4:59pm PST But the stunned iguanas may return to life. The bigger the reptile, the better the chance it will survive. Magill said, “Even if they look dead as a doornail – they’re gray and stiff – as soon as it starts to heat up and they get hit by the sun rays, it’s this rejuvenation. The ones that survive that cold streak are basically passing on that gene.” He thinks in a couple decades, iguanas might be able to endure colder climates and may start working their way north. According to BuzzFeed , Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) experts said people should leave the iguanas alone – they can bite once they thaw out. Iguanas can be six feet long; one woman shared a video of a man carrying one of the reptiles nearly as long as he is tall on Facebook: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.11’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); I love all the Bomb Cyclone photos!!! Here’s a video for you – frozen iguana! Posted by Jenna Isola on Thursday, January 4, 2018 It’s not just the iguanas who were impacted by the cold . The FWC said a similar phenomenon can occur with sea turtles . Their news release said, “When the water temperatures drop, stunned sea turtles may float listlessly in the water or near shore. Although these turtles may appear to be dead, they are often still alive.” Check out our Facebook Live to see our staff rescue cold-stunned sea #turtles ! https://t.co/YNmLDsHT45 #Florida pic.twitter.com/hRlXrPYp0A — MyFWC (@MyFWC) January 4, 2018 Via The New York Times , the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission , and BuzzFeed Images via Maxine Bentzel on Twitter and Frank Cerabino on Twitter

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It’s so cold that frozen iguanas are falling off trees in Florida

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