Wednesday, 25 January 2017

200 million years of bird migration


After the Trump administration told the US Environment Protection Agency to shut up, I thought it was time to have a peek at what they are doing. It appears to be quite fascinating long term research which provides all manner of indicators about climate change.

There's a superb climate change report available from their web-site, at least until the on-boarding of their new digital strategist decrees whether or not it will still be available.

In the shorter term they have been forbidden from press releases, no blogging, reduction of webinars, no new content to be released and more. I suppose they need to be consistent with Trump's viewpoint on climate change, which may require some further adjustments somewhere.

I decided to take a look at the section about bird migration. Birds are supposed to be descendants of dinosaurs, which learned how to survive by small size and use of flight. It has seen them do pretty well for the last two hundred million years or so, as they scaled back from the velociraptor and adapted to the use of feathers. This little Scientific American graphic illustrates the story.

So when the centre of abundance for multiple species of birds moves northward over 40 miles during the last 50 years, it suggests that things must be getting warmer. And some of the species (about 48) have moved northwards by around 200 miles. Here's a little graphic from the EPA report.

Of course, if the birds are among nature's survivors then another interesting chart would be one that covered the effect of whatever is happening on human health. That gets covered in the report as well, along with one of those cause effect graphics, to show some of the main interdependencies.

But I'm wondering if this well-produced report, reviewed by plenty of industry experts, is about to be given the heave-ho? It doesn't seem to support the direction of some of the new administration's executive orders, so perhaps the new digital strategist will be making some adjustments?

Perhaps we will be told?

Update: I was going to post this tomorrow, but have brought it forward because the Trump Administration has now asked the EPA to remove its climate change section.

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