This isn’t super directly related to geology (although I guess it qualifies as earth-science-related), and even less related to anything I have any sort of expertise in, but it piqued my interest…
This week’s Science Times section of the NYT included a brief article about a new paper titled “Warming Oceans, Phytoplankton, and River Discharge: Implications for Cholera Outbreaks.” I couldn’t get to the full paper, but according to the abstract (and the Times write-up), the gist of the findings were that increased coastal phytoplankton in the Bay of Bengal*, which is associated with cholera outbreaks, may be due primarily to increased influx of terrestrial nutrients from increase river discharge and glacier melt. The authors contrast this with the increase in phytoplankton somehow being attributed to increased sea surface temperature (an indicator of climate change), as was previously thought (? I’m inferring that people previously thought this… it doesn’t really say).
Pretty interesting, but the part I thought was the most interesting was that the Times headline was “Cholera: Climate Change Isn’t a Culprit in Increasing Outbreaks, Study Finds.” Forgive me if I’m wrong as I’m definitely not a climate scientist, but when I hear something is probably caused by “increased river discharge [i.e. increased precip?] and increased glacier melt,” it seems a bit premature to write off such causes as being totally unrelated to climate change. Am I crazy? People with more knowledge in this area than me please feel free to comment!
*In case you’re as bad at geography as I am and want to confirm that the Bay of Bengal is where you think it is, it’s the part of the Indian Ocean that’s on the east side of the Indian subcontinent (see here).