Melting Permafrost and a Feedback Loop

The BBC has a great article on a Siberian crater, the Batagaika crater, that is growing quickly due to melting permafrost. Excerpt from the article:

As more permafrost thaws, more and more carbon is exposed to microbes. The microbes consume the carbon, producing methane and carbon dioxide as waste products. These greenhouse gases are then released into the atmosphere, accelerating warming further.

“This is what we call positive feedback,” says Günther. “Warming accelerates warming, and these features may develop in other places. It’s not only a threat to infrastructure. Nobody can stop this development. There’s no engineering solution to stop these craters developing.”

The article provides some great context in understanding the impacts of global warming.

Peso Dollar Exchange rate in the News

This is not exactly a sustainability example, but it does exhibit the value of some basic regression skills. Drum’s post from yesterday, Fact Check: President Trump Has Nothing To Do With the Decline of the Peso, provides a graph of the Peso Dollar exchange rate for the last couple of years (please read the short post). The graph you see here is made using R and  monthly average exchange rate data from FRED or you can download the excel file.  Note that the graph here is the number of Pesos to purchase 1 dollar and so the graph increasing is a decline in the Peso.

There are two points here. The change in the peso dollar exchange rate has been reasonably linear for the last couple of years and so there is no evidence that the recent change in the U.S. presidency has had an impact, so far. Second, using examples like this in classrooms empowers students.