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Articles on Tropics

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Marine life is fleeing the equator to cooler waters. History tells us this could trigger a mass extinction event

Climate change has already made tropical oceans too hot for some marine species to survive. As they flee towards the poles, the implications for ecosystems and human livelihoods will be profound.
The northern hemisphere jet stream crossing Cape Breton Island in the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada. NASA/Wikimedia Commons

A battle for the jet stream is raging above our heads

The jet stream is being distorted on both sides by fast-warming tropical and Arctic air. Should the tropics win out, weather patterns could change profoundly.
During a heatwave in late 2018, Cairns temperatures topped 35°C nine days in a row and sensors at some points in the CBD recorded 45°C.

Urban growth, heat islands, humidity, climate change: the costs multiply in tropical cities

The world’s fastest-growing cities are in the tropics. They are highly exposed to climate change, especially as urban heat island effects and humidity magnify the impacts of increasing heatwaves.
Cairns Lagoon: as a good response to the tropical climate, it’s a very active place but with little business activity. Silvia Tavares

City temperatures and city economics, a hidden relationship between sun and wind and profits

Good urban design and walkability boost local economic activity by increasing public activity, but cities need to pay more attention to the effects of microclimates on streets and public spaces.
Marine Drive in Mumbai, viewed here from across Chowpatty Beach, is an ‘accidental’ planning legacy that’s now one of the most popular places in the city. Dirk Ott/Shutterstock

Healthy, happy and tropical – world’s fastest-growing cities demand our attention

When we plan a better future for an increasingly urbanised world, we need to be aware that more than half of all children now live in the tropics. That calls for solutions with a tropical character.
A regenerating stand of rainforest in northern Costa Rica. Matthew Fagan

Restoring tropical forests isn’t meaningful if those forests only stand for 10 or 20 years

Many nations are restoring degraded tropical forests to slow climate change, protect endangered species and improve rural life. But those forests often are cleared again soon afterward.
Cairns has lots of hard grey infrastructure but much less green infrastructure that would reduce the impacts of the city’s growth. Karine Dupré

Cities can grow without wrecking reefs and oceans. Here’s how

Urbanisation is the main reason for rising temperatures and water pollution, but receives little attention in discussions about the health of water streams, reefs and oceans.
Idiospermum is otherwise known as “idiot fruit” or ribbonwood. via Wikimedia Commons

It’s hard to spread the idiot fruit

In a few idyllic parts of Queensland grows the idiot fruit, a tall tree with intricate flowers and some of the largest seeds in Australia.
Planning and design for healthy, liveable communities in the Australian tropics can involve quite different considerations from those that apply down south. Silvia Tavares

Making a global agenda work locally for healthy, sustainable living in tropical Australia

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan for sustainable, healthy urban living. Urban diaries help identify what works – and doesn’t work – for tropical cities like Cairns or Townsville.

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