Earth is changing

By the end of this century, the global temperature is likely to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This scary conclusion was reached by two different studies using different methods.

One study used statistical analysis to show that there is a 95% chance that Earth will warm more than 2 degrees at century’s end, and a 1% chance that it’s below 1.5 C. “The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0-4.9 [degrees Celsius] and our median forecast is 3.2 C,” said Adrian Raftery, author of the first study. “Our model is based on data which already show the effect of existing emission mitigation policies. Achieving the goal of less than 1.5 C warming will require carbon intensity to decline much faster than in the recent past.”

The second study analyzed past emissions of greenhouse gases and the burning of fossil fuels to show that even if humans suddenly stopped burning fossil fuels now, Earth will continue to heat up two more degrees by 2100. More realistically, if emissions continue for 15 more years, Earth’s temperature could rise as much as 3 degrees. “Even if we would stop burning fossil fuels today, then the Earth would continue to warm slowly,” said Thorsten Mauritsen, author of the second study. “It is this committed warming that we estimate.”

These similar results paint a grim future. We’re in deeper than we originally thought. But not all is lost, as the fight against global warming is currently occurring. But we have to up our game. We need to start installing clean energy and walk away from our old polluting ways. If we don’t do this, we have to start preparing for many severe consequences for a much hotter world.

“There are only two realistic paths toward avoiding long-run disaster: increased financial incentives to avoid greenhouse gas emissions and greatly increased funding for research that will lead to at least partial technological fixes,” said Dick Startz, economist and co-author of the second study. “Neither is free. Both are better than the catastrophe at the end of the current path.”

Silver linings are hard to find in climate change studies, but we may have one as long as solar power continues to plummet in cost. But our governments have to take full advantage of the breakthroughs our engineers have produced.

How do you feel about global warming and climate change? Are you willing to change your source of power to try and lessen the damage done? Leave your thoughts below.

Blending in

As the diagnoses of Autism increase, an interesting trend has been noticed. More boys are being diagnosed than girls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disorder is 4.5 times more common among boys than girls. Boys appear to be more vulnerable to the disorder, but the gender gap may not be as wide as it appears. Girls can be better at blending in, according to Dr. Louis Kraus, a psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who specializes in autism.

While girls try to fit in, boys tend to be more isolative. This makes it easier to spot autism at an earlier age in boys, whereas girls may not be diagnosed until later on because their symptoms don’t stand out. This can be hindering since girls then may not get the early intervention that they need.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder, characterized by repetitive, compulsive behaviors, a lack of interest in social interaction and little or no eye contact. There is no medical test to diagnose autism. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis.

Girls appear to have mastered what some call “social camouflaging” according to Amanda Gulsrud who’s a clinical director of the Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental Clinic and University of California, LA. She develops school interventions for children with autism. During this study done by UCLA looking at children with and without ASD, the autistic boys stand out as being different. They were very isolated from the other boys, who were in a large group playing sports. The boys with autism were the ones “circling the perimeter of the yard, or off by the tree in the back.”

Girls with autism, on the other hand, don’t stand out as much. They stuck close enough to the other girls to look as if they were socially connected, but in reality they really weren’t. They were flitting in and out of that social connection. Girls with autism tend to be quiet and “behave more appropriately” according to Marisela Huerta, a psychologist with the Weill Cornell Medical College.

Currently, there is a NIH-funded study on girls with autism focusing on genes, brain function and behavior through childhood and adolescence. Preliminary findings suggest there are differences in the brains of girls and boys with the disorder. Brain imaging shows that autistic girls seem to have less of a disruption in the area of the brain that processes social information. Girls may be more likely to understand social expectations, even if they can’t fully meet them.

A late diagnosis of autism is a setback for any child according to Kraus. Research shows the earlier the diagnosis and intervention, the better the outcome. There are many academic and community programs geared to help autistic teens and young adults catch up on their social development. For example, PEERS at UCLA.

What do you think about this research? Do you have an autistic child, teen or young adult in your life? Do you notice differences between autistic boys and girls? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

A lot of this information was found via this article HERE.