climate change

Victor R. Caivano / AP

Last week Brazilian soldiers were working to put out this year’s record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest. The irony is that they were there on the orders of their commander-in-chief, President Jair Bolsonaro – because he’s trying to put out another kind of fire.

WLRN archives

Miami-Dade County’s morgue sits on a gritty corner opposite the Ryder Trauma Center, in the shadow of a boxy parking garage.

It’s not an unsurprising setting for cataloguing the worst of South Florida. What’s unexpected is inside: a skylight bathes the lobby in sunshine and makes the green carpet look like a forest floor. Loveseats and chairs are arranged for hushed conversations and hugs. A painting of a heron perched in a cypress swamp hangs on a wall outside the records room.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

NOAA GOES satellite imagery

Hurricane Dorian spared South Florida from the worst of the winds, rain and storm surge. There were no mass evacuations. Power outages were few. But there was plenty of anxiety.

Leo Correa / AP

COMMENTARY

Here’s a dirty little secret about Amazon deforestation that liberals prefer you overlook: the slash-and-burn may be ugly under right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, but it was bad when leftists controlled the rainforest, too. Under former President Dilma Rousseff, the liberal darling who ruled Brazil from 2011 until her impeachment in 2016, Amazon deforestation actually increased.

In no way does that excuse Bolsonaro’s reckless efforts to accelerate the trend – which in 2019 have resulted in an alarming 85 percent rise in Amazon fires that have destroyed more than 7,000 square miles of rainforest. What it points out is that Brazil, left or right, is and largely has been a lousy steward of an emerald ecosystem known as the lungs of the earth.

AP

Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) said on Sundial Monday that retreating from the Paris Climate Agreement makes America "weaker" and that he plans to push hard for two things in the coming months: a carbon fee and gun reform legislation.

Special to the Miami Herald

If you live in Florida, you know the psychological toll hurricanes have on humans. We panic, we obsess over the latest weather report, we rant about horrendous evacuation traffic.

What’s far less known is the effect of hurricanes on non-human residents. One new study shows storms have a surprising evolutionary impact on spiders — producing a more aggressive population of arachnids.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

APOLLO BEACH -- After two years and more than $4.5 million, scientists working with the Florida Aquarium have pulled off something no one else ever has: They coaxed imperiled Atlantic Ocean coral into spawning in a laboratory, aquarium officials announced Wednesday.

Fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest are proliferating at an alarming rate.

That's the gist of an announcement this week by the country's National Institute for Space Research, or INPE. According to the agency, there have been 74,155 fires in Brazil so far this year — most of which erupted in the Amazon. That represents an astonishing leap of more than 80% over last year and by far the most that the agency has recorded since it began compiling this data in 2013.

If you want to know what climate change will look like, you need to know what Earth's climate looked like in the past — what air temperatures were like, for example, and what ocean currents and sea levels were doing. You need to know what polar ice caps and glaciers were up to and, crucially, how hot the oceans were.

Nadege Green / WLRN

James Valsaint is concerned about displacement in Little Haiti. He knows the neighborhood’s high elevation is attractive to developers and perspective homeowners because it doesn’t flood. He questions how the majority low-income residents in the area will fare as rent costs balloon and where they will go.

Damian McNamara is a homeowner in Morningside, less than a mile from Little Haiti. His neighborhood is affluent, as is the case with most coastal enclaves in South Florida.

Carl Juste/Miami Herald

Randall Dasher is a fourth-generation Florida farmer and until last year, he never had a crop of iron-clay cowpeas fail.

"Something has changed and somewhere, someway, that has affected our yields," he said Monday during a panel at the University of Florida, where farmers met with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa, scientists and agriculture officials.

JENNIFER KING / MIAMI HERALD

Two dozen tiny leatherback turtles swam around in small tanks, attached by fishing lines to a system that kept them from hitting walls and hurting themselves. As an open-water species, leatherbacks don’t recognize barriers, so they are kept on leashes at Florida Atlantic University’s lab at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton.

It was lunchtime and professor Jeannette Wyneken was feeding them a concoction she perfected over the years: organic gelatin, fish oil, protein and vitamins, shaped into little squares. Leatherbacks are picky eaters, feeding mostly on jellyfish.

Miami Herald archives

As the planet heats up, polar ice melts, seas rise and Biblical-size rains become more frequent, hurricanes are expected to get wetter and more intense.

But less certain is how much climate change is making these fierce storms, which target Florida more than any other U.S. state, more punishing now.

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