DNR weekend reading: Wildfire map, pine beetles add to B.C. warming, and higher CO2 downgrading wheat quality

Coyote Rocks, Spokane River
The Coyote Rocks section of the Spokane River in October 2012 — a state-owned aquatic land managed by DNR. Photo: Carol Piening/DNR

Here are links to several reading selections about climate, wildlife, the environment and other current science issues published recently by universities, science journals and other sources.

NASA: Visualization Captures Record Year for Wildfires in the U.S.
This year has been an unusually severe one for wildfires in the U.S., with more than 9.1 million acres of land burned through the end of November. The total affected area, which is depicted in a new NASA map, is already the third-largest since records were first kept in 1960.

eenews.net: Pine beetle attacks are warming Canada — study
In a study published in Nature Geoscience, scientists at the University of Toronto and the University of California, Berkeley, report that the mountain pine beetle scourge in British Columbia raised surface summer-time temperatures in affected areas by 1 degree Celsius on average. The summer temperature increase was several degrees higher in the worst-hit areas where provincial forests were wiped out.

AlphaGalileo Foundation: Poorer quality wheat when carbon dioxide levels in the air rise
Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have a negative impact on the protein content of wheat grain and thus its nutritional quality, conclude researchers who examined the results of field experiments with 17 varieties of wheat on four continents.

Science Daily: If You Cut Down a Tree in the Forest, Can Wildlife Hear It?
A new tool developed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and its partners can model how noise related to roads, recreational trails and other human activities travels through landscapes and affects species and ecosystems.

Green (New York Times): An Online Tool for Calculating Flood Risk
An umbrella organization for insurers allows you to calculate the flood risks your home faces and what the ultimate costs might be, depending on the severity of the event.

Institute of Zoology: Disaster map predicts bleak future for mammals
Mammals could be at a greater risk of extinction due to predicted increases in extreme weather conditions, states a paper published by the Zoological Society of London. Scientists mapped out land mammal populations, and overlapped this with information of where droughts and cyclones are most likely to occur to identify species at high risk of exposure to extreme weather.

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