Friday, January 14, 2011

Unintended consequence of Climate Change


This story about how the spread of a hantavirus that is killing our forest highlights a very hunting aspect of Climate Change.  There are a lot of possible consequences of Climate Change that our scientists know are possible—and they are many

However, that may only be a fraction of what will actually happen because of Climate Change.  Only human hubris would keep us from avoiding Climate Change because we think we can handle a little warming up.  But Climate Change is far more complicated than that.  Check out this critical article:

Deadly Virus Tied to Decline of Aspens - "Around 2004, large numbers of aspens in the West began dying off, and with no immediately identifiable cause, scientists dubbed the phenomenon “sudden aspen decline.” Ultimately the die-back was pinned on a severe 2002 drought and heat wave that left aspens vulnerable to pests, cankers and fungi. Now, a new study suggests that the decline of the West’s aspens is not just marring the landscape, but also helping to spread a strain of hantavirus fatal to humans. The spread of hantavirus among mice in the wake of the aspen die-offs should already be considered an “unintended consequence of climate change,” Dr. Lehmer said. She noted that other studies have shown an increase in human hantavirus infections in Germany during years of above-average warmth. " (February 13, 2011) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

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