Oct 29, 2018

Climate change is redrawing maps

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Climate change is reshaping aspects of our environment that many of us thought were static — from where deserts begin and end, to what we can grow in backyard or community gardens.

Why it matters: These changes portend bigger shifts to come that may reshape the global food system and lead to insecurity, with major agricultural countries facing more challenges from pests, heat waves, droughts, floods and other threats that could affect crop productivity. 

The shift was highlighted a fascinating article, "Redrawing the Map: How the World’s Climate Zones Are Shifting," by Nicola Jones in Yale Environment 360, published at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies:

  • Climate change is literally redrawing lines on the map, like "the line of where wheat will grow, or where tornadoes tend to form, where deserts end, where the frozen ground thaws, and even where the boundaries of the tropics lie."
  • The big picture: "Everything about global warming is changing how people grow their food, access their drinking water, and live in places that are increasingly being flooded, dried out, or blasted with heat waves. Seeing these changes literally drawn on a map helps to hammer these impacts home."

Among the findings:

  • "The tropics are expanding by half a degree per decade."
  • '"Since 1902, the Sahara Desert has grown 10 percent."
  • In the U.S., the boundary between the arid Western plains and the wetter, eastern region has shifted about 140 miles east since 1980.
  • Tornado Alley — a hotspot for tornado formation in the U.S. — has shifted 500 miles east since the mid-1980s.
  • Check out the maps.

Be smart: Those who will be hit the hardest by these changes will be located closer to the expanding tropics and semi-arid zones north and south of the equator.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's economy won't reopen anytime soon, despite frantic CEO whispers, but a glimmer of hope may be emerging in the form of serological testing.

Why it matters: Serologic tests aren't to determine whether or not you're infected with coronavirus. They are to determine if you have potential immunity that could allow you to safely return to work.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Tech challenges are hampering federal and state government efforts to get funds from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief law into the hands of newly unemployed workers and struggling small businesses who need it.

Why it matters: Many businesses and individuals need the money now for essentials, including meeting payroll and paying rent.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. on Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday the coming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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