DNR weekend reading: Scientist find a new rhythm to El Niño, and other science news

old western red cedar
DNR Forest Inventory Technician Nathan Janiga measured a 51-inch diameter at breast height (DBH) on this old western red cedar, which is a leave-tree (not to be harvested) in the Lower Chehalis State Forest. Photo: Megan McCormick/DNR.

Here are links to articles about natural resources, climate, energy and other topics published recently by universities, scientific journals, organizations, and other sources:

Science Daily: Climate Researchers Discover New Rhythm for El Niño
Why El Niño peaks around Christmas and ends quickly between February and April has been a long-standing mystery. The answer lies in an interaction between El Niño and the annual cycle that results in an unusual tropical Pacific wind pattern with a period of 15 months, according to scientists.

Oregon State University: Land management options outlined to address cheatgrass invasion
A new study by the U.S. Joint Fire Sciences Program, Oregon State University, and the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that overgrazing and other factors increase the severity of cheatgrass invasion in sagebrush steppe, one of North America’s most endangered ecosystems.  

Alpha Galileo: Simplified Solutions to Deforestation Ineffective in the Long Run
Deforestation is the second largest source of CO2 emissions after consumption of fossil fuels. The effectiveness of programs that pay landowners to replant or protect forests is called into question by researchers from the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Broader guidelines and policies may be needed, they suggest. 

Scientific American: Is Global Warming Cooler than Expected?
Even though the Earth is warming faster than at any time in the last 11,000 years, several leading authorities on climate change have given a guarded welcome to research suggesting that future warming may proceed more slowly than scientists had expected.

American Geophysical Union: Elevated carbon dioxide making arid regions greener
A study of satellite data for several large arid regions around the globe, including the U.S. Southwest, finds that a “fertilization effect” spurred by increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere caused a gradual greening from 1982 to 2010.

Michigan State University: Pinpointing how nature’s benefits link to human well-being
Scientists at Michigan State University’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability have developed a new approach to measuring human dependence on ecosystem services with the goal of improving the understanding, monitoring and management of coupled human and natural systems.

Did you like any of these articles? Have suggestions for future weekend reading selections? Let us know on the DNR Facebook page.

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