WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 • THE BULLETIN
• Discoveries, breakthroughs,trends, namesin the news— the things you needto know to start out your day
It's Wednesday,Sept. 24, the 267th day of 2014.There are 98 days left in the year.
imaec an es,menuc an es warming
ISlamiC State —President Barack Obama will convene a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council and urge the group to pass a sweeping resolution designed to place additional requirements on governments to halt the support of terror groups.
ROSh HaShanah — The Jewish NewYear begins at sunset.
HISTORY Highlight:OnSept. 24, 1789, President GeorgeWashington signed a Judiciary Act establishing America's federal court system and creating the post of attorney general. In1869, thousands of businessmen were ruined in aWall Street panic known as"Black Friday" after financiers Jay Gould and JamesFiskattempted to corner the gold market. In1890, the president of the Church of JesusChrist of Latter-Day Saints, Wilford Woodruff, wrote a manifesto renouncing the practice of polygamy. In1929, Lt. James Doolittle guided a Consolidated NY-2Biplane over Mitchel Field in New York in the first all-instrument flight.
In1948, Mildred Gillars, accused of being Naziwartime radio propagandist "Axis Sally," pleaded not guilty in Washington, D.C., to charges of treason. (Gillars, later convicted, ended upserving 12 years in prison.) In1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while on vacation in Denver. In1960, the USSEnterprise, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launchedat Newport News, Virginia. In1976,former hostage Patricia Hearst was sentencedto seven years in prison for her part in a1974 bank robbery in San Francisco carried out by the Symbionese Liberation Army. (Hearst was released after 22 months after receiving clemency from President Jimmy Carter.) In1988, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson wonthe men's 100-meter dash at theSeoul Summer Olympics — but he was disqualified three days later for using anabolic steroids. Members of the eastern Massachusetts Episcopal diocese elected Barbara Harris the first female bishop in the church's history. In1991,kidnappers in Lebanon freed British hostage Jack Mann after holding him captive for more than two years. Ten years ago:Iraq's interim prime minister, AyadAllawi, appealed to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly to unite behind his country's effort to rein in spiraling violence, lighten the foreign debt and improve security aheadof the January elections. Fiveyears ago: With President Barack Obamapresiding, the U.N. Security Council unanimously endorsed asweeping strategy aimed at halting the spread of nuclear weapons and ultimately eliminating them. The heads of theGroup of 20 nations began a two-day meeting in Pittsburgh aimedat making sure afledgling global recovery remained ontrack. One year ago:President Barack Obama andnew Iranian President HasanRouhani appeared separately before the U.N. General Assembly, with both leaders speaking up for improved relations and a resumption of stalled nuclear talks but giving no ground on long-held positions that had scuttled previous attempts to break the impasse.
Polar bears have become a symbol of the danger of global warming, but in Canada's Hudson Bay, scientists have found that our understanding of climate change may not be as simple as it seemed. Case in point: Polar bears have gotten lucky in one area, in that they have something new to eat.
Is 32. — From wire reports
By James Gorman
bearseatgeese but questions
By Marjorie Connelly
New York Times News Service
how important that fact is. He said he worried that these
New York Times News Service
findings would be taken by the public to mean that polar bears were doing fine. "What they have established," he said of Rockwell's
regard the environment as the nation's foremost chal-
LA PEROUSE BAY, Manitoba — The sea ice here on the
western shore of Hudson Bay breaks up each summer and leaves the polar bears swim-
ming for shore. The image of forlorn bears on small rafts of ice has become a symbol of dimate change. And for good reason. A warming planet means less icecoverage oftheA rctic Sea, leaving the bears with less time and less ice for hunting seals. New YorkTimes NewsService file photo They dependon sealsfortheir The polar bear, an Arctic species vulnerable to climate change, is survival. turning from a diet of seal pups to one ofsnow-goose eggs and But the polar bears here have caribou as a warmingclimate melts sea ice, pushing the bears to discoveredanew menu option. spend more time on land. They eat snowgeese. Because the ice is melting
earlier ,thebearscome on shore earlier, and the timing turns out to be fortunate for them.
of a large snow goose summer breeding ground before the geese have hatched and fledged. And with 75,000 pairs of snow geese on the Cape ulation explosion — there is an
abundant new supply of food for the bears.
long-popular fall destination forpolarbear tourism has become a case study in how climate change collides with oth-
er environmentalchanges at the local level and plays out in a blend of domino effects, trade-
offs and offsets. "The system is a lot more
complicated than anybody thought," said Robert Rockwell, who runs the Hudson Bay
Project, a decadeslong effort to monitor the environment.
To fully appreciate how the chain reaction plays out in La Perouse Bay requires studying the individual links in the chain
— the geese, the bears, and the plants and the land beneath them.
Good for thegoose
bears in the western Hudson Bay is deteriorating, whatever their diet.
beyond the sightings of bears shows a rich and diverse mineating geese and eggs. They ap- iature forest of grasses, sedges,
a few buildings surrounded that was once in part limited by an electric bear fence. It is by winter habitat now has an reachable only by helicopter. infinite winter supply of food, From this v antage point, and that includes the best agriRockwell and his team have cultural products: corn, wheat, witnessed the snow goose pop- soybeans, canola, rapeseed, all ulation swell to the point where of that," Rockwell said. they are harming their own Some snow geese now nesting grounds. The number winter in Nebraska and Iowa of snow geese that live and mi- where these crops are grown. grate in the continent's central But they keep coming to the flyway exploded from about 1.5 sub-Arctic and the Arctic in million in the 1960s to about 15 the summer, following ancient million now, and many of them habit. During Rockwell's time nest here or stop by on their here, thecolony increasedfrom
postdoctoral research at the
way farther north.
She and Quinoa worked with Rockwell to collect and study samplesofpolarbear scat for severalyears and found that the bears were eating lots of geese. They were also eating caribou and other animals, as well as berries — anything in
sedges and other plants in the
marsh and tundra of the bay shore. The goose population, Rockwell said, was once limited in size by its sparse winter food ter many of the marshes were drained for various kinds of development, "the snow geese just sort of said, well, wait a minute,
what was that green stuff just north of here? And it turns out
The early bear gets the bird T he conventional view i s
that overall, polar bears are "food-deprived" in the summer
proached the bear diet question
wildflowers, crowberries, cran-
in a scientific way. Gormezano, who has begun
berries, blueberries,cloudberries and gooseberries. Researchers such as Christa
University of Montana, special- Mulder, a plant ecologist from izes in noninvasive methods the University of Alaska, Fairfor monitoring the behavior of banks, are studying what the predators. In terms ofdiet,sci- plants are doing to better unentists can observe what goes derstand how the whole ecoin, or what goes out. With an system is faring. In one project, animal such as apolarbear, the she is tagging 40 species to see second approach is more prac- how the timing of their growth tical. They turned to polar bear is changing. feces, or scat. She emphasizes that alGormezano trained a Dutch though climate change brings shepherd named Quinoa to find an overall warming trend, it polarbear scatand drove him also is bringing increased vari-
reach. Rockwell and Gormezano
ation in average temperatures, andthetimingof the seasons.
"In some years, summer sea-
son starts very late," she said.
ahead of the environment, were foreign policy, poverty, education, immigration and
politics. Still, nearly half of the public said global warming was having an effect now. One-quartersaid they doubteditwould have a seri-
ous impact at all, and about three in 10 expected its con-
sequences to show up in the future. Even at the risk of lim-
iting economic growth, 58 percent said protecting the environment should be a
priority. "Economic growth is important, but if we don't take care of the environment, we won't be here to
enjoy it," Bernice Schneiderman, 66, aretired teacher
from Studio City, California, said in a follow-up interview. E conomic growth w a s
more important to 37 percent of those surveyed, induding Steven Swoboda, 36, from Victorville, California. "Because our economy is so bad," he said, "we need to focus on it and on jobs and not worry so much about global warming." Fifty-four percent said the warming was caused by human behavior. "Man has ruined the earth," said Laura Fort, 27, from Lexington Park, Maryland. "We need
renewable energy that won't hurt the environment." By contrast, 31 percent
consideredwarming to be solely a natural phenomenon, and 10 percent did not
accept the idea that global warming existed. Fiftyseven percent of those surveyed said they did not think global warming would harm them personally. But 42 percent saw it as an imminent threat.
Partisan and g enerational divides were reflected throughout the survey.
About half of Republicans considered the economy more important than the
environment, while nearly two-thirds of Democrats said the environment should
take priority. Visit Central Oregon's
"Some years, itstartsvery early. Sometimes, the fall comes very late. Sometimes, the fall
comes very early." And, she says, "A cold year slams plants down much hard-
er than a warm year advances becausethereis justnotenough have published several papers them." food on land to make a signifi- on their findings. cant contribution to their diet. Some other polar bear reBut the snow geese may have searchers reacted with dismay changed that, at least here. about how the results may be p ui4 5dDd.6 50. By 2007, it was dear that the interpreted. sea ice was melting earlier, on Steven Amstrup, chief scienaverage, and the polar bears tist of Polar Bears InternationBend were often coming on shore in al, says he does not doubt that Redmond time to harvest the eggs from John Day vast numbers of geese and otherbirds. Burns Rockwell, a researcher at Lakeview the American Museum of NatLa Pine
those are the rice prairies," he ural History, and Linda Gorsald. mezano, a graduate student he Having found the rice farther was supervising, decided to go
ant problems, and I percent
try. Other to p
dull at first, a closer inspection
nearthe coastbecause oftheir eating habits.
Economic issues continue totop thelist of mostimport-
nutritional losses by taking advantage of goose eggs." But,
h a s b e en north in Louisiana, the geese counting geese in this area ev- continued to explore and exery summer since 1969. pand their winter range, findIn the late 1970s, he started ing the vast agricultural fields building his current campof the Midwest. "So a species
largely to Louisiana and Texas, in the coastal marshes where the geese long spent their winters feeding on spartina, also known as salt hay or salt meadow cordgrass. They then migrate north in spring to nest and raise goslings on grass and
more than half say global warming is caused by human behavior, the highest level ever recorded by the national poll.
offered the environment as a top concern for the coun-
in the goose population, as he A warming planet means less ice coverage of the Arctic Sea, which once hoped. leaves polar bears with less time and less lce for hunting seals, but For the geese population more opportunity for coming across snowgoose nests, like this to remain constant, a pair of one on the ice-free ground in Manitoba, Canada. geese needs to have only two surviving offspring in a lifetime of breeding. Snow geese have Tnesday's U.N. Climate Summit —Inthefirst international many chances, typically with test for his climate-changestrategy, President Barack Obama five orsix seasons of four or pressed world leadersTuesdayto follow the United States' lead five eggs each. Those are good on the issue,evenasa United Nations summit revealedthe many odds for maintaining a stable obstacles that still stand in thewayof wider agreements to reduce population. heat-trapping pollution. And that puts the plants of ButnopledgesmadeatTuesday'sone-daymeetingwerebinding. the tundra in an uncomfortable The largest-ever gathering of world leaders todiscuss climatewas place, between a goose and a designed to laythe groundwork for anewglobal climate-change warming trend. What that is treaty. It also revealedthe sharp differencesthat divide countries on doing to plants is what scienmatters such asdeforestation, carbon pollution andmethaneleaks tists at the Hudson Bay project from oil andgas production: are studyingnext. • Brazil, home to theAmazonrainforest, said it would not sign a The tangled tundra pledge to halt deforestation by2030. • The United States decidednot to join 73 countries in supporting The geese, birds, caribou a price oncarbon,which Congresshas indicated it would reject. and many other animals here • And minutes after Obamasaid "nobody gets a pass," Chinese live on plants. Those plants are Vice PremierZhangGaoli insisted theworld treat developing nations, facing the goose onslaught, an including China,differently than developed nations, allowing themto increase in the caribou popularelease moreheat-trapping pollution. China,theNo. 1carbon-polluttion and swings in temperature ing nation, signed on insupport of pricing carbon andvowed to stop thataccompany the changing the rise of carbon-dioxideemissions assoon aspossible. climate. — The Associated Press Although the tundra and marsh may look uniform and
northfor several field seasons.
Times/CBS News poll. And
of those surveyed last week
its would not put a real dent
2,500 pairs to 75,000, and the The reason for the increase, birdsmoved as far as 20 miles Rockwell said, can be traced inland as they ruined areas
lenge, most consider it to be of great concern and say it should be a priority, according to the latest New York
tential for some number of polar bears to offset some of their
Michael Kirby Smith i New YorkTimes News Service
R ockwell, 68 ,
While few Americans
He added, "There is the po-
dedines, "There's no evidence that anything like current polar bear populations can be supported," he said. Setting aside for a moment what the bears' eating eggs ultimately means for the bears, Rockwell said their eating hab-
sult of a continuing goose pop-
What is clear is that this
impact." Studies, he said, have shown the condition of polar
global. In the future, as sea ice
Churchill peninsula — the re-
however, has been devastating to the plants and the landscape, with the geese turning large swaths of tundra into barren mud. Nor does it mean the bearsaregoing tobe OK in the longrun.
eating some goose eggs and even geese.The important question is how many bears are doing that and what is the
expect there's going to be some great salvation of polar bears." Besides, he said, the concern for the bears is long-term and
now often arrive in the midst
What's good for the bears,
work, "is that some bears are
he said, "It's not reasonable to
As a strange side-effect of climate change, polar bears here
supply in Southern states. "Af-
Rhythm-and-blues singer Sonny Turner is 75. Newsanchor Lou Dobbs is 69. Proand College Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene is 68. Olympic gold medal gymnast Paul Hamm
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