Take an amusing quiz to learn about unexpected effects of Climate Change. After each multiple choice question, you see if you were right (and the right answer if you weren't).
Climate change is increasing toxins in plants, and (together with higher population) speeding transfer of disease from wild animals to us.
The most worrying environmental threats facing the world today range from the rise in diseases transmitted from animals to humans to the increasing accumulation of toxic chemicals in food crops as a result of drought and high temperatures, according to a U.N. report released Friday.
According to the report, "around 60 percent of all infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic as are 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases." And "on average, one new infectious disease emerges in humans every four months," it said.
As for toxic chemicals in crops, normally plants convert nitrate into amino acids and protein but drought slows the conversion causing nitrates to accumulate and become toxic to animals, the report said.
Worldwide, over 80 plant species are known to cause poisoning from accumulation of nitrates and wheat, barley, maize, millet, sorghum and soybeans are among the crops most susceptible, it said.
Another toxin associated with climate change is hydrogen cyanide or prussic acid that can accumulate in plants such as cassava, flax, maize and sorghum, it said. [emphasis mine]
Rising temperatures are also increasing toxins in our food from mold.
... climate change could actually make important crops toxic to animals and humans.
That’s the conclusion of a new report released this week by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), which warns that warming temperatures could cause crops to accumulate mycotoxins — poisons produced by fungi that can lead to cancer and death — at higher rates.
Mycotoxins are already found in crops like wheat, maize, and barley — a 1998 estimate suggested that mycotoxins exist in at least 25 percent of cereal grains worldwide. They’re the toxins that come from mold, and a big reason why we avoid food that’s gone bad.
... rising temperatures coupled with unpredictable precipitation — downpours and droughts — could help mycotoxins thrive in more temperate areas, like Europe. One particularly dangerous mycotoxin is aflatoxin, ...
If the climate warms by 2 degrees Celsius, the UNEP warns that aflatoxins could become a major food safety issue for Europe.
Your plane could be grounded during extreme heat.
Temperatures over 119°F are too high for some plane engines, plus hot air is less dense so it provides less lift. Some planes had to fly with fewer passengers during this heat wave, others were grounded.
Extreme heat makes it tougher for airplanes to get off the ground.
Here's a video demonstrating the difficulty of flying in thin air, with a small plane in 2012.
The take-off checklist runs out at 126 and 127 degrees, respectively, for Boeing and Airbus jetliners. Hotter than that and you can’t take off because you can’t calculate how long the runway needs to be for the weight of the plane and the air temperature.
Note that places in India and the Middle East already sometimes reach those temperatures. This would make air-based relief or evacuation impossible, at least during the day.
Even machines may hold hidden hazards.
Climate change > increasing toxins in plants > transfer of disease from wild animals to us > increasing toxins from molds; not a very friendly future awaits the coming generations.
Manure piles bursting into flames!
How hot is it in upstate New York? So hot that horse manure is bursting into flames.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation says it received multiple complaints July 5 about the smell and smoke emanating from a burning pile of horse manure at a property in the town of Throop,... 20 miles west of Syracuse.
The responding officer learned that the owners of a horse stable had been storing the manure in large piles that frequently spontaneously combusted in the excessive heat and dry conditions.
It took three local fire departments two hours to douse the burning manure.
image source [actually a 120-cubic-yard pile of goat manure that burst into spontaneous flame in Windsor, VT]
Brain-infecting nematodes from touching snails or eating produce they touch: rat lungworm.
Health officials in Hawaii have been warning residents not to touch snails or slugs with their bare hands because of an increase in cases of people coming into contact with a rare parasitic infection known as a rat lungworm. Experts are blaming its sudden spread across the United States on climate change and globalization. [emphasis mine]
In the last two decades, there have only been two documented cases of rat lungworm infections in Hawaii. But in the past three months, six more cases have occurred in rapid succession. Other states where it has recently popped up include California, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida.
One recent surprise location was in Oklahoma.
The severity of the disease can vary wildly, there’s no known treatment, and it’s notoriously difficult to diagnose.
A local preschool teacher described her experience with parasitic meningitis that was a result of rat lungworm... "My visual graphic for what’s happening is that every once in a while somebody opens the top of my head, sets a hot iron inside my brain, then pushes the steam button.
I have a half dozen medicine bottles, several for pain because any movement of my head spikes my pain level to 12. I don’t see any improvement, just that every day is a different day, different pain."
Head's up Floridians!
Rat lungworm now spreading in Florida.
A potentially fatal parasite was located in five counties in Florida, researchers of a new study have revealed.
In the study published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers reported that rats and snails in Alachua, Leon, St. Johns, Orange, and Hillsborough counties in Florida were found infected by the rat lungworm parasite.
Although fatality rate of the infection is low, the parasite is known to cause a type of meningitis that can cause severe infections and possibly death.
The parasite can sicken humans if they ingest infected snails, crustaceans, and vegetables that were contaminated by infected slugs. Humans can also be infected when they come in contact with rat feces.
"The parasite is here in Florida and is something that needs to be taken seriously," Walden said in a statement. "The reality is that it is probably in more counties than we found it in, and it is also probably more prevalent in the southeastern U.S. than we think." [emphasis mine]