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Christmas and Climate Change

30 Dec Christmas and Climate Change

According to a study from Columbia University, which was published in the journal Weather Climate Society, Earth’s rising temperatures could make it increasingly hard for planes to take off. If it’s too hot, airplanes will have to shed pounds, in the form of passengers and cargo. “Temperature is one of the primary factors that goes into calculations for every flight says study author Ethan Coffel.

Coffel and his co-author Radley Horton looked at how rising temperatures would affect a common commercial aircraft, the Boeing 737-800, at four airports especially prone to weight restrictions during heat waves: Phoenix (for its high summer temperatures), Denver (for its high elevation), and LaGuardia and D.C.’s Reagan (for their relatively short runways). Airports might have to put in longer runways, or flights may have to be shifted to cooler parts of the day.

Our warming climate is also bad news for Christmas trees according to a recent article published in the New Scientist. Norwegian spruces risk getting cold feet as the insulating blanket of snow that protects their roots from Scandinavian winters  becomes thinner. Sirkka Sutinen, from the Finnish Forest Research Institute spent two years studying 47-year-old spruces in eastern Finland. And  the spruce may be threatened by more than just cold feet, according to Paal Krokene from the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute. Warmer temperatures are good news for the trees’ arch archenemy, “ the spruce bark beetle “, which may soon be producing two generations a year in an extended breeding season. “Insects benefit much more from climate change than the trees,” Krokene says.

Climate change will no doubt have far reaching consequences both for planes as well as the traditional Christmas tree, both key elements of our festive period!

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