Poll: More Americans See Climate Change as Culprit for Extreme Weather

Kathleen Maxwell has lived in Phoenix for more than 20 years, but this summer was the first time she felt fear, as daily high temperatures soared to 110 degrees or hotter and kept it up for a record-shattering 31 consecutive days.

“It’s always been really hot here, but nothing like this past summer,” said Maxwell, 50, who last week opened her windows for the first time since March and walked her dog outdoors for the first time since May. “I was seriously scared. Like, what if this doesn’t end and this is how it’s going to be?”

Maxwell blames climate change, and she’s not alone.

New polling from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicates that extreme weather, including a summer that brought dangerous heat for much of the United States, is bolstering Americans’ belief that they’ve personally felt the impact of climate change.

About 9 in 10 Americans (87%) say they have experienced at least one extreme weather event in the past five years — including drought, extreme heat, severe storms, wildfires or flooding — up from 79% who said that just a few months ago in April. And about three-quarters of those believe climate change is at least partly to blame.

In total, 64% of U.S. adults say both that they’ve recently experienced extreme weather and that they believe it was caused at least partially by climate change, up from 54% in April. And about 65% say climate change will have or already has had a major impact in their lifetime.

This summer’s heat might be a big factor: About three-quarters of Americans (74%) say they’ve been affected by extremely hot weather or extreme heat waves in the last five years, up from 55% in April — and of those, 92% said they’ve had that experience just in the past few months.

This summer was the hottest ever measured in the Northern Hemisphere, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the European climate service Copernicus.

Millions of Americans also were affected by the worst wildfire season in Canada’s history, which sent choking smoke into parts of the U.S. About six in 10 U.S. adults say haze or smoke from the wildfires affected them “a lot” (15%) or “a little” (48%) in recent months.

And around the world, extreme heat, storms, flooding and wildfires have affected tens of millions of people this year, with scientists saying climate change has made such events more likely and intense.

Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said researchers there have conducted twice-yearly surveys of Americans for 15 years, but it wasn’t until 2016 that they saw an indication that people’s experience with extreme weather was affecting their views about climate change. “And the signal has been getting stronger and stronger year by year as these conditions continue to get worse and worse,” he said.

But he also believes that media coverage of climate change has changed dramatically, and that the public is interpreting information in a more scientific way than they did even a decade ago.

Seventy-six-year-old Bruce Alvord, of Hagerstown, Maryland, said it wasn’t unusual to experience days with a 112-degree heat index this summer, and health conditions mean that “heat really bothers me because it’s restricted what I can do.”

Even so, the retired government worker doesn’t believe in human-caused climate change; he recalls stories from his grandparents about bad weather, and thinks the climate is fluctuating on its own. 

“The way the way I look at it is I think it’s a bunch of powerful politicians and lobbying groups that … have their agenda,” said Alvord, a Republican who sees no need to change his own habits or for the government to do more. “I drive a Chrysler 300 (with a V8 engine). I use premium gas. I get 15 miles a gallon. I don’t give a damn.”

The AP-NORC poll found significant differences between Democrats and Republicans. Among those who have experienced extreme weather, Democrats (93%) are more certain that climate change was a cause, compared to just half of Republicans (48%).

About 9 in 10 Democrats say climate change is happening, with nearly all of the remaining Democrats being unsure about whether climate change is happening (5%), rather than outright rejecting it. Republicans are split: 49% say climate change is happening, but 26% say it’s not and an additional 25% are unsure. Overall, 74% of Americans say climate change is happening, largely unchanged from April.

Republican Ronald Livingston, 70, of Clute, Texas, said he’s not sure if human activity is causing climate change, “but I know something is going on because we have been sweating our butts off.”

The retired history teacher said it didn’t rain for several months this year, killing his grass and drying up a slough on his property where he sometimes fishes. It was so hot — with 45 days of 100 degrees or more — that he could barely go outside, and he struggled to grow a garden. He also believes that hurricanes are getting stronger.

And after this summer, he’s keeping an open mind about climate change.

“It worries me to the extent that I don’t think we can go two or three more years of this,” Livingston said.

Jeremiah Bohr, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh who studies climate change communication, said scientific evidence “is not going to change the minds that haven’t already been changed.” But people might be swayed if people or institutions they already trust become convinced and spread the word, Bohr said.

After a brutal summer, Maxwell, the Phoenix resident, said she hopes more Americans will accept that climate change is happening and that people are making it worse, and support measures to slow it.

“It seems very, very obvious to me, with all of the extreme weather and the hurricanes and flooding,” said Maxwell. “I just can’t imagine that people wouldn’t.”

Science Revealing Genetic Legacy of Human’s Cousins Like Neanderthals

Neanderthals live on within us.

These ancient human cousins, and others called Denisovans, once lived alongside our early Homo sapiens ancestors. They mingled and had children. So some of who they were never went away — it’s in our genes. And science is starting to reveal just how much that shapes us.

Using the new and rapidly improving ability to piece together fragments of ancient DNA, scientists are finding that traits inherited from our ancient cousins are still with us now, affecting our fertility, our immune systems, even how our bodies handled the COVID-19 virus.

“We’re now carrying the genetic legacies and learning about what that means for our bodies and our health,” said Mary Prendergast, a Rice University archeologist.

In the past few months alone, researchers have linked Neanderthal DNA to a serious hand disease, the shape of people’s noses and various other human traits. They even inserted a gene carried by Neanderthals and Denisovans into mice to investigate its effects on biology, and found it gave them larger heads and an extra rib.

Much of the human journey remains a mystery. But Dr. Hugo Zeberg of the Karolinska Insitute in Sweden said new technologies, research and collaborations are helping scientists begin to answer the basic but cosmic questions: “Who are we? Where did we come from?”

And the answers point to a profound reality: We have far more in common with our extinct cousins than we ever thought.

Neanderthals within us

Until recently, the genetic legacy from ancient humans was invisible because scientists were limited to what they could glean from the shape and size of bones. But there has been a steady stream of discoveries from ancient DNA, an area of study pioneered by Nobel Prize winner Svante Paabo who first pieced together a Neanderthal genome.

Advances in finding and interpreting ancient DNA have allowed them to see things like genetic changes over time to better adapt to environments or through random chance.

It’s even possible to figure out how much genetic material people from different regions carry from the ancient relatives our predecessors encountered.

Research shows some African populations have almost no Neanderthal DNA, while those from European or Asian backgrounds have 1% to 2%. Denisovan DNA is barely detectable in most parts of the world but makes up 4% to 6% of the DNA of people in Melanesia, which extends from New Guinea to the Fiji Islands.

That may not sound like much, but it adds up: Even though only 100,000 Neanderthals ever lived, “half of the Neanderthal genome is still around, in small pieces scattered around modern humans,” said Zeberg, who collaborates closely with Paabo.

It’s also enough to affect us in very real ways. Scientists don’t yet know the full extent, but they’re learning it can be both helpful and harmful.

For example, Neanderthal DNA has been linked to auto-immune diseases like Graves’ disease and rheumatoid arthritis. When Homo sapiens came out of Africa, they had no immunity to diseases in Europe and Asia, but Neanderthals and Denisovans already living there did.

“By interbreeding with them, we got a quick fix to our immune systems, which was good news 50,000 years ago,” said Chris Stringer, a human evolution researcher at the Natural History Museum in London. “The result today is, for some people, that our immune systems are oversensitive, and sometimes they turn on themselves.”

Similarly, a gene associated with blood clotting believed to be passed down from Neanderthals in Eurasia may have been helpful in the “rough and tumble world of the Pleistocene,” said Rick Potts, director of the human origins program at the Smithsonian Institution. But today it can raise the risk of stroke for older adults. “For every benefit,” he said, “there are costs in evolution.”

In 2020, research by Zeberg and Paabo found that a major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neanderthals. “We compared it to the Neanderthal genome and it was a perfect match,” Zeberg said. “I kind of fell off my chair.”

The next year, they found a set of DNA variants along a single chromosome inherited from Neanderthals had the opposite effect: protecting people from severe COVID.

The list goes on: Research has linked Neanderthal genetic variants to skin and hair color, behavioral traits, skull shape and Type 2 diabetes. One study found that people who report feeling more pain than others are likely to carry a Neanderthal pain receptor. Another found that a third of women in Europe inherited a Neanderthal receptor for the hormone progesterone, which is associated with increased fertility and fewer miscarriages.

Much less is known about our genetic legacy from Denisovans – although some research has linked genes from them to fat metabolism and better adaptation to high altitudes. Maanasa Raghavan, a human genetics expert at the University of Chicago, said a stretch of Denisovan DNA has been found in Tibetans, who continue to live and thrive in low-oxygen environments today.

Scientists have even found evidence of “ghost populations” — groups whose fossils have yet to be discovered — within modern humans’ genetic code.

So why did we survive?

In the past, the tale of modern humans’ survival “was always told as some success story, almost like a hero’s story,” in which Homo sapiens rose above the rest of the natural world and overcame the “insufficiencies” of their cousins, Potts said.

“Well, that simply is just not the correct story.”

Neanderthals and Denisovans had already existed for thousands of years by the time Homo sapiens left Africa. Scientists used to think we won out because we had more complex behavior and superior technology. But recent research shows that Neanderthals talked, cooked with fire, made art objects, had sophisticated tools and hunting behavior, and even wore makeup and jewelry.

Several theories now tie our survival to our ability to travel far and wide.

“We spread all over the world, much more than these other forms did,” Zeberg said.

While Neanderthals were specially adapted to cold climates, Potts said, Homo sapiens were able to disperse to all different kinds of climates after emerging in tropical Africa. “We are so adaptable, culturally adaptable, to so many places in the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Neanderthals and Denisovans faced harsh conditions in the north, like repeated ice ages and ice sheets that likely trapped them in small areas, said Eleanor Scerri, an archeologist at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology. They lived in smaller populations with a greater risk of genetic collapse.

Plus, we had nimble, efficient bodies, Prendergast said. It takes a lot more calories to feed stocky Neanderthals than comparatively skinny Homo sapiens, so Neanderthals had more trouble getting by, and moving around, especially when food got scarce.

Janet Young, curator of physical anthropology at the Canadian Museum of History, pointed to another intriguing hypothesis – which anthropologist Pat Shipman shared in one of her books –- that dogs played a big part in our survival. Researchers found the skulls of domesticated dogs in Homo sapiens sites much further back in time than anyone had found before. Scientists believe dogs made hunting easier.

By around 30,000 years ago, all the other kinds of hominins on Earth had died off, leaving Homo sapiens as the last humans standing.

‘Interaction and mixture’

Still, every new scientific revelation points to how much we owe our ancient cousins.

Human evolution was not about “survival of the fittest and extinction,” said John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It’s about “interaction and mixture.”

Researchers expect to learn more as science continues to advance, allowing them to extract information from ever-tinier traces of ancient lives. Even when fossils aren’t available, scientists today can capture DNA from soil and sediment where archaic humans once lived.

And there are less-explored places in the world where they hope to learn more. Zeberg said “biobanks” that collect biological samples will likely be established in more countries.

As they delve deeper into humanity’s genetic legacy, scientists expect to find even more evidence of how much we mixed with our ancient cousins and all they left us.

“Perhaps,” Zeberg said, “we should not see them as so different.”

СБУ: підозрюваного в наведенні ракет на завод у Запоріжжі засудили до довічного ув’язнення

«Зловмисником виявився працівник місцевого оборонного підприємства», заявив СБУ

Білорусь: відеооператора засудили до 5,5 років ув’язнення за співпрацію з «Белсатом»

Дружину Лазарова Тетяну Питько засудили до трьох років позбавлення волі

В Узбекистані госпіталізували сотні дітей. Батьки підозрюють – причиною міг бути препарат в рамках кампанії з йодизації

МОЗ Узбекистану у п’ятницю заборонило використання цього препарату «Антиструмін-100» до завершення розслідування

В Одесі знайшли другого загиблого внаслідок нічної атаки – Кіпер

За словами Кіпера, загиблі працювали вночі в приміщенні, де зберігалося зерно

Historians Race to Find Great Lakes Shipwrecks Before Mussels Destroy Sites

The Great Lakes’ frigid fresh water used to keep shipwrecks so well preserved that divers could see dishes in the cupboards. Downed planes that spent decades underwater were left so pristine they could practically fly again when archaeologists finally discovered them.

Now, an invasive mussel is destroying shipwrecks deep in the depths of the lakes, forcing archeologists and amateur historians into a race against time to find as many sites as they can before the region touching eight U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario loses any physical trace of its centuries-long maritime history.

“What you need to understand is every shipwreck is covered with quagga mussels in the lower Great Lakes,” Wisconsin state maritime archaeologist Tamara Thomsen said. “Everything. If you drain the lakes, you’ll get a bowl of quagga mussels.”

Quagga mussels, finger-sized mollusks with voracious appetites, have become the dominant invasive species in the lower Great Lakes over the past 30 years, according to biologists.

The creatures have covered virtually every shipwreck and downed plane in all of the lakes except Lake Superior, archaeologists say. The mussels burrow into wooden vessels, building upon themselves in layers so thick they will eventually crush walls and decks. They also produce acid that can corrode steel and iron ships. No one has found a viable way to stop them.

Wayne Lusardi, Michigan’s state maritime archaeologist, is pushing to raise more pieces of a World War II plane flown by a Tuskegee airman that crashed in Lake Huron in 1944.

“Divers started discovering (planes) in the 1960s and 1970s,” he said. “Some were so preserved they could fly again. (Now) when they’re removed the planes look like Swiss cheese. (Quaggas are) literally burning holes in them.”

Quagga mussels, native to Russia and Ukraine, were discovered in the Great Lakes in 1989, around the same time as their infamous cousin species, zebra mussels. Scientists believe the creatures arrived via ballast dumps from transoceanic freighters making their way to Great Lakes ports.

Unlike zebra mussels, quaggas are hungrier, hardier and more tolerant of colder temperatures. They devour plankton and other suspended nutrients, eliminating the base level of food chains. They consume so many nutrients at such high rates they can render portions of the murky Great Lakes as clear as tropical seas. And while zebra mussels prefer hard surfaces, quaggas can attach to soft surfaces at greater depths, enabling them to colonize even the lakes’ sandy bottoms.

After 30 years of colonization, quaggas have displaced zebra mussels as the dominant mussel in the Great Lakes. Zebras made up more than 98% of mussels in Lake Michigan in 2000, according to the University of California, Riverside’s Center for Invasive Species Research. Five years later, quaggas represented 97.7%.

For wooden and metal ships, the quaggas’ success has translated into overwhelming destruction.

The mussels can burrow into sunken wooden ships, stacking upon themselves until details such as name plates and carvings are completely obscured. Divers who try to brush them off inevitably peel away some wood. Quaggas also can create clouds of carbon dioxide, as well as feces that corrode iron and steel, accelerating metal shipwrecks’ decay.

Quaggas have yet to establish a foothold in Lake Superior. Biologists believe the water there contains less calcium, which quaggas need to make their shells, said Dr. Harvey Bootsma, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences.

That means the remains of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a freighter that went down in that lake during a storm in 1975 and was immortalized in the Gordon Lightfoot song, The Ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald, are safe, at least for now.

Lusardi, Michigan’s state maritime archaeologist, ticked off a long list of shipwreck sites in the lower Great Lakes consumed by quaggas.

His list included the Daniel J. Morrel, a freighter that sank during a storm on Lake Huron in 1966, killing all but one of the 29 crew members, and the Cedarville, a freighter that sank in the Straits of Mackinac in 1965, killing eight crew members. He also listed the Carl D. Bradley, another freighter that went down during a storm in northern Lake Michigan in 1958, killing 33 sailors.

The plane Lusardi is trying to recover is a Bell P-39 that went down in Lake Huron during a training exercise in 1944, killing Frank H. Moody, a Tuskegee airman. The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of Black military pilots who received training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama during World War II.

Brendon Baillod, a Great Lakes historian based in Madison, has spent the last five years searching for the Trinidad, a grain schooner that went down in Lake Michigan in 1881. He and fellow historian Bob Jaeck finally found the wreck in July off Algoma, Wisconsin.

The first photos of the site, taken by a robot vehicle, showed the ship was in unusually good shape, with intact rigging and dishes still in cabins. But the site was “fully carpeted” with quagga mussels, Baillod said.

“It has been completely colonized,” he said. “Twenty years ago, even 15 years ago, that site would have been clean. Now you can’t even recognize the bell. You can’t see the nameboard. If you brush those mussels off, it tears the wood off with it.”

Quagga management options could include treating them with toxic chemicals; covering them with tarps that restrict water flow and starve them of oxygen and food; introducing predator species; or suffocating them by adding carbon dioxide to the water.

So far nothing looks promising on a large scale, UW-Milwaukee’s Bootsma said.

“The only way they will disappear from a lake as large as Lake Michigan is through some disease, or possibly an introduced predator,” he said.

That leaves archaeologists and historians like Baillod scrambling to locate as many wrecks as possible to map and document before they disintegrate under the quaggas’ assaults.

At stake are the physical remnants of a maritime industry that helped settle the Great Lakes region and establish port cities such as Milwaukee, Detroit, Chicago and Toledo, Ohio.

“When we lose those tangible, preserved time capsules of our history, we lose our tangible connection to the past,” Baillod said. “Once they’re gone, it’s all just a memory. It’s all just stuff in books.”

Армія РФ била вночі по Одещині 19 БПЛА, «Калібрами» та «Оніксами». Військові повідомили про руйнування

Суттєвих пошкоджень зазнав морський вокзал в Одесі, зруйновано зерносховища

В ISW назвали ймовірні обставини, за яких ЗСУ можуть здійснити значний прорив на південному фронті

ISW радять проявити терпіння до плану української кампанії та очікувати, що контрнаступ ЗСУ триватиме до зими 2023-го – весни 2024 року

Зеленський назвав «дуже продуктивним» тиждень за підсумками зустрічей у США та Канаді

Президент України Володимир Зеленський назвав дуже продуктивним тиждень за підсумками його зустрічей у США та Канаді. Про це він сказав у вечірньому відеозверненні.

За словами президента, Україна змогла отримати багато оборонних та інших рішень.

«Оборонні пакети. Від Сполучених Штатів – це й артилерія, потрібні снаряди, ракети для «хаймарсів», ракети для ППО, додаткові системи ППО, тактичні машини. І ще деякі інші види зброї, які заявлять самі про себе на полі бою. Від Канади маємо рішення про тривалу оборонну підтримку. Обсяг – пів мільярда доларів США. Зокрема, це «медеваки» – евакуаційні машини, які дуже потрібні на фронті. Домовилися про виробництво та постачання. Є історичне рішення Америки про спільне виробництво зброї та оборонних систем, зокрема й ППО», – сказав Зеленський.

За його оцінкою, у США пролунало «багато морально сильних і важливих позицій» на різних рівнях, так само і в Канаді.

«Ми маємо економічні домовленості – і з урядами, і бізнесом. Є рішення про зону вільної торгівлі з Канадою. У Вашингтоні – меморандум щодо взаємодії в енергетиці. В Оттаві – домовленість щодо відновлення Каховської ГЕС та реконструкції Канівської. Очевидний інтерес великих компаній і США, і Канади працювати в Україні… Хочу подякувати за готовність уряду Канади виділити фінансування для музею Голодомору-геноциду, для добудови цього музею», – зазначив Зеленський.

Президент Володимир Зеленський перебував із візитом у США 18–21 вересня, а 22-го – прибув на переговори до Канади.