watch out for falling satellites

Air in the atmosphere’s outermost layer is very thin, but air molecules still create drag that slows down satellites, requiring engineers to periodically boost them back into their proper orbits. But the amount of carbon dioxide up there is increasing. With more carbon dioxide up there, more cooling occurs, causing the air to settle. So the atmosphere is less dense and creates less drag.Live Science, 16 Aug 2011

the frontiers of climate science

Science News: In a fifteen-page article due to be published in next month’s Nature, an author with no previous scientific background argues that he has proven a link between climate change and the disappointing size of his penis.

Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature Publishing Group, has defended the decision to publish the piece without it being subjected to peer-review by the scientific community:

“Sean Johnson’s ground-breaking work must be read by everyone. I appreciate that the measurement, causes, and even the existence of climate change are divisive issues. Yet the idea that man-made global warming may explain a less-than satisfactory penis-size is something that can unite scientists, environmentalists and politicians behind a shared goal.”ThePoke UK, 9 Nov 2011

drink up quickly!

Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery has been creating specialty brews since 1991, and sustainability director Jenn Orgolini said anyone who enjoys the company’s product should be concerned about the climate. . “If you drink beer now, the issue of climate change is impacting you right now.” Some of those impacts include higher prices for raw materials or scarcer products such as specialty hops. Durango Herald, 23/11/11

get in quick

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara warned on Wednesday the 2016 Olympics could be the last Games, with global warming an immediate threat to mankind. “It could be that the 2016 Games are the last Olympics in the history of mankind,” Ishihara told reporters at a Tokyo 2016 press event ahead of the vote.

“Global warming is getting worse. We have to come up with measures without which Olympic Games could not last long. “Scientists have said we have passed the point of no return,” said Ishihara. Reuters, 30 Sep 2009

bushfire alert

Unless action is taken now to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Australia will be unable to manage future catastrophic bushfires, leading climate scientists have warned.

The co-director of the University of NSW’s climate change research centre, Andy Pitman, says there will be a 100 to 200 per cent increase in bushfire risk by 2100 if Australia continues on its path of high emissions.

But if Australia was able to meet the low emission guidelines set by the inter-governmental panel on climate change, the increase in bushfire risk would be just 20 to 30 per cent by 2100, he said.

The Age, 31 May 2007

see also – just plain scary

Ice Age revisited

Sweden’s mountains are growing greener. At the border between woods and bare mountain, trees that require warm temperatures, such as oak, elm, maple, and black alder, have become established for the first time in 8,000 years.

This is shown in current studies led by Leif Kullman, professor of physical geography at Umeå University in Sweden.

Over the last century, the temperature has risen by more than one degree. The cooling trend over several thousand years is broken, and this has triggered changes in flora, fauna, and landscapes.

In important respects, the present state is similar to what occurred directly after the latest ice age.

Science Daily, 18/5/08

monkeys on the move

The white-bearded De Brazza’s monkeys were found in the Great Rift Valley, a place they had never been spotted before, Richard Leakey, a prominent white Kenyan credited with ending the slaughter of the nation’s elephants, told Reuters in Nairobi. “That is telling us a lot about the climate change scenarios we are looking at now,” he said. “It puts climate change as the most critical consideration as we plan for the future.”Planet Ark, 1 Nov 2007

to someone with purple-tinted glasses, everything looks purple

The local inhabitants along the river Dyak had a lot to say about climate change….Raimie, our wildlfe guide has also noticed that the heat arrives earlier in the dry season and that the season lasts longer.

One of the consequences of this shift is a greater prevalence of fire, and Raimie mentioned that a year earlier, in neighbouring Kalimantan, 1000 orang-utans burned to death — a significant proportion of the world’s population.

Such catastrophes are reported occasionally in the media but the link with climate change is almost never made.
The Age, 3 Nov 2007, “Seasons of change” an edited extract from An Explorer’s Notebook by Tim Flannery

wakeup call

Climate change is bringing animals out of hibernation prematurely, making them lose weight and causing them stress, Italian scientists said yesterday. Spring-like temperatures too early in the year are waking animals up sooner and putting their feeding and breeding habits out of kilter with the environment.The Guardian, 8 Jun 2006

it’s all in the mind

This week 2,500 of the world’s leading environmental scientists warned politicians of the drastic global warming which will result if governments fail to reduce greenhouse gases. Scientists have warned that the early arrival of Spring may lift people’s spirits but can also trigger migraines. A study has shown temperature rises increase the number of people requiring hospital treatment for debilitating headaches.
The Telegraph (UK), 14 Mar 2009

swarms

Scientists say global warming could be about to boost fly populations in the world’s cooler nations, bringing swarms of blowflies to countries like England.

Researchers from Southampton University used computer models to analyse how a rise in tempterature could affect populations of houseflies and bluebottles, the British name for blowflies.

Based on the data, they estimated that Britains’s fly numbers could rise by 250 per cent by 2080.

Sun Herald (Australia), 16 Oct 2005 – screencopy held by this website

Squirrels beat the heat

Canadian squirrels have evolved earlier breeding times.

Squirrels with genes for earlier breeding were probably favored because this allows them to take advantage of an earlier spring and hoard more pinecones for winter survival

…..as the climate has warmed in recent decades, Canadian squirrels have evolved shifts in their breeding times that make them more successful in warmer climates.

Berkeley University: Understanding Evolution, May 2009

They’re invading!…but then again maybe not

Ancient viruses have been lying dormant in Siberian permafrost for centuries. But global warming is about to change that. Scientists have made another massive discovery of ancient (and giant) viruses hidden dormant in the permafrost. As the planet warms, finding these things—and waking them—is going to become more commonplace.

….. the distant possibility does exist, and as more and more polar thawing occurs, our statistical chance of finding something will grow. But Dr. James Van Etten, a professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln thinks that a viral outbreak is a worry you can put out of your head. “Certainly,” he says, “I would not lose any sleep over this issue.” The Daily Beast, 27 Sep 2015

thanks to ddh

too many black sheep in the family

Scientists have discovered milder winters are turning the dark coats of Soay sheep on Hirta in the St Kilda archipelago lighter. Dr Maloney, of the University of Western Australia, said: “Our finding that the proportion of dark-coloured Soay sheep decreased over the past 20 years as ambient temperature increased could be interpreted in several ways, the most parsimonious being that dark colouration has provided an energetic advantage in winter that is being attenuated in a warming climate.
The Telegraph, 22/7/09

Hopeful news at last – the U.N. is becoming irrelevant!

After another U.N. climate conference gave only modest results, European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard says the process needs to provide a “substantial answer” to global warming in two years to remain relevant. I think that it has to deliver a substantial answer to climate change in 2015, Hedegaard said. “If it fails to do so, then I think this critical question will be asked by many more.”
USAToday, 24 Nov 2013

This means……

Combating climate change should be seen as a “war” that must be won for the sake of future generations, the Prince of Wales said as he received his Global Environmental Citizen award last night. “We should see this as a war we simply have to win. Our successors will pay dearly for our inaction and we surely owe it to them to take urgent steps now.”
The Telegraph, 12 Apr 2008

pestilence

According to several leading climate scientists and public health researchers, global warming will lead to higher incidence and more intense versions of disease.

The direct or indirect effects of global warming might intensify the prevalence of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, dengue and Lyme disease, they said, but the threat of increased health risks is likely to futher motivate the public to combat global warming.

“The environmental changes wrought by global warming will undoubtedly result in major ecologic changes that will alter patterns and intensity of some infectious diseases,” said Gerald Friedland, professor of medicine and epidemiology and public health at the Yale School of Medicine.

Yale News, 11 Apr 2012

see also – just plain scary

bio-degradable footwear

The uncomfortable truth is that overconsumption is a major factor in climate change, Jo Paoletti, an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland says. “We buy much more clothing today than we did a generation ago, and too much of it is ‘ast,’ disposable fashion.”

If we define ‘sustainable fashion’ as made of particular [eco-friendly] fibers but still ready for Goodwill in a few months, we are deluding ourselves,” says Jo Paoletti.

There’s good news: several companies are already stepping up to contribute to the industry’s sustainability and to work toward lessening its environmental impact, as Politiwicz points out.

Puma, for example, is manufacturing biodegradable footwear. Levi’s recently launched an initiative to use less water in its jeans manufacturing process. Even fast fashion behemoth H&M has launched its own Conscious Collection sustainability initiative.

Huffington Post 11 Aug 2012 What Climate Change Just Might Ruin

divinely inspired

Wednesday at a ceremony to appoint Texas lawyer Shaarik Zafar to be special representative to Muslim communities, Secretary of State John Kerry said it was the United States’ Biblical “responsibility” to “confront climate change,” including to protect “vulnerable Muslim majority countries.”

Kerry said Scripture, in particular the Book of Genesis, make clear it is our “duty” to protect the planet and we should look at Muslim countries “with a sense of stewardship of earth,” adding, “That responsibility comes from God.”

Breitbart, 3 Sep 2014

food poisoning

food_poisoning2

“Britain should be prepared for an increase in food poisoning and upset stomachs as a result of climate change, a meeting will be told today.

Global warming could also create conditions favourable for a return of malaria to the UK, where it was once endemic in Kent, although the disease was very unlikely to gain a foothold,” said Prof Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia in Norwich.
The Telegraph, 5 Jan 2006

data don’t matter

“The presenter was incredulous and asked Folland to repeat his statement so that the entire audience could hear, and Folland again said, ‘The data don’t matter… we’re not basing our recommendations upon the data; we’re basing them upon the climate models.’”
Chris Folland, presentation to climatologists, August 13, 1991, Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming by Patrick Michaels (Cato Institute, 1992), p. 83

see also – Say what?

India’s incredible shrinking cow!

cow2
Worsening heat, fodder shortages and the threat of drought are forcing many hard-hit dairy farmers in the Anantapur area of India’s southern Kerala state to reduce their herds, experts say. But the solution to the problem is simple and small, livestock experts argue: heat-tolerant dwarf cows.

“It is a fact that the characteristics of the seasons have been altered by the disastrous impacts of climate change, so our lifestyle needs to adapt to using our indigenous flora and fauna,” said K. Ramankutty, a dairy farmer in Palakkad. The dwarf cow is a great weapon against climate change, he said.
Reuters, 29 Jun 2015

(c) Can Stock Photo

doubt cast on Indian climate change research

dog_bites_manDuring the research we experienced floods in Tianjin, a record-breaking power cut across northern India, record high temperatures in Karachi and conflicts over resources and land use in Indonesia between palm oil companies and Indigenous people.

One researcher was bitten by dog while interviewing people in the Kathmandu valley. More prosaically during one community assessment in Nepal people misled the researcher about having access to television in the hope that they would give them new television sets.
thirdpole.net 8 Oct 2013

(c) Can Stock Photo

things are getting itchier

Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy.

The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report Monday. Their study appears in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The fertilization effect of rising CO2 on poison ivy … and the shift toward a more allergenic form of urushiol have important implications for the future health of both humans and forests,” the study concludes.

NBC News, 30 May 2006

the cookie crumbles

Some must-have ingredients for cookies and other baked goods are already feeling the climate change pinch.

Peanut butter prices are spiking after the southern US saw one of the worst harvests in decades, thanks to out-of-the-ordinary extreme heat over the summer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the peanut harvest is down nearly 15% compared to last year.

Likewise, extreme temperatures in Texas have hampered pecan production, while a recent study published in the journal Science found that yields of wheat are down about 5% since the 1980s.

Prevention 12 Apr 2012 – 8 Weird ways climate change is ruining everything

beavers have been too busy

A study found that the beaver is playing an increasing part in climate change because the dams they build for shelter create shallow, stagnant ponds of water which allow biological material to build up on the bottom of the river.

The production of methane is accelerated because stationary pools of water contain much less oxygen than a flowing river interacting with the atmosphere and microbes thrive in low-oxygen environments.

The study, by the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, estimates that beavers are indirectly producing 200 times more methane today than they were in 1900, when fur hunting had largely wiped out the populations in North American, Europe and Asia.

The Independent, 17 Dec 2014

deluded about climate change?

Australian psychiatrists have described the first case of “climate change delusion”, a previously unreported illness in which a patient refused to drink water because he “felt guilty” about the effect it would have on the environment.

Dr Joshua Wolf & Dr Robert Salo, of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, treated a 17-year-old patient who believed that “due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of millions of people.”

The report, published in the Royal Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, said the case was the first of its kind, directly linking anxiety over climate change to psychosis. Dr Robert Salo said he expected more patients to suffer from the disorder as long as the issue remained on the agenda.
The Telegraph (UK), 11 Jul 2008

contender for award for the most tenuous link to climate change

But now there is a new charge against carbon dioxide that may strike more deeply at the heart of American public opinion: The claim that it promotes obesity.

But why blame CO2? The evidence here is more circumstantial, but Danish researcher Lars-Georg Hersoug notes that atmospheric levels of the gas have risen during the same period and that in the United States, obesity has increased most rapidly on the East Coast, where CO2 concentrations are highest.

Hersoug has so far conducted just one test of his hypothesis, an experiment in which six young men were placed in special climate rooms for seven hours. They were then given the opportunity to eat as much as they wanted, and those who had been exposed to increased CO2 levels ate six percent more than those who had not.
Raw Story, 16/3/12

statistics that are not to be sneezed at

Pollen seasons as well as the amount of pollen in the air progressively increased during a six-year study in Italy, the doctors told a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in New Orleans.

“By studying a well-defined geographical region, we observed that the progressive increase of the average temperature has prolonged the duration of the pollen seasons of some plants and, consequently, the overall pollen load,” Dr. Walter Canonica, who worked on the study, said in a statement.The Telegraph (UK), 1 Mar 2010

buckeye ejected

It’s not the best-researched global-warming theory, but it could be the most horrifying to certain fans of college football: Environmentalists said Friday that climate change might push the growing range of Ohio’s iconic buckeye tree out of the state, leaving it for archrival Michigan.

David Lytle, chief of the Division of Forestry in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said healthy adult buckeye trees can tolerate a wide climate range, although seedlings are more sensitive. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan could eventually give buckeye trees a more comfortable habitat.

Save The Buckeye, a coalition of environmental activists and outdoor enthusiasts doesn’t have any evidence that the buckeye’s range has been pushed north but says global warming threatens to make that happen.
USA today, 12 Sep 2008

together in ….

Water shortages and drought are having an impact on cotton production, causing price fluctuations and even a shortage in denim.

A pair of jeans uses 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, enough to fill 15 spa-size bathtubs. That includes the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home.

The company wants to reduce that number any way it can, and not just to project environmental responsibility. It fears that water shortages caused by climate change may jeopardize the company’s very existence in the coming decades by making cotton too expensive or scarce.

Although scientists are wary of linking specific extreme weather events to climate change, recent increases in floods and droughts are in line with patterns that experts have long projected would result from global warming.

New York Times, 1 Nov 2011

do your bit!

Keen to do your bit for global warming but can’t bear to part with your four-wheel-drive? Now you can be both a greenie and a gas guzzler by investing in projects slowing climate change.

People keen to compensate for the environmental impact of their cars and air travel are tipped to become big buyers of carbon credits, a greenhouse gas conference heard yesterday.

Under the State Government’s two-year-old Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme, energy suppliers such as AGL and Energy Australia must buy carbon credits to meet mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas.

There is increasing interest from non-liable parties in buying [carbon credits], the program head, Margaret Sniffen, told yesterday’s greenhouse conference.

Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Feb 2005

quick change

Scientists have found a mosquito that appears to have evolved and adapted to climatic changes induced by global warming— the first documented case of a genetic change in response to the apparent heating up of the planet. Even more surprising, said evolutionary biologist William Bradshaw, of the University of Oregon, in Eugene, who led the study, is that this evolutionary change can occur in as little as five years.
National Geographic, 5 Nov 2011

fish getting bigger but growing slower

Climate change is leading to bigger fish in shallow water, but they are growing slower at greater depths, CSIRO research in Tasmania suggests. These observations suggest that global climate change has enhanced some elements of productivity of shallow-water stocks but at the same time reduced the productivity and possibly the resilience of deep water stocks. The Australian research was published by the US National Academy of Sciences this week.
The Age, 27 Apr 2007

smaller fish

The findings published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B follows research showing fish have lost half their average body mass as a result of global warming over the past 20 to 30 years. A recent study also showed a herd of wild Soay sheep in the Outer Hebrides had decreased by five per cent in the last 24 years for exactly the same reason.
The Telegraph (UK), 12/8/09

the hills are alive….

The mountains in Europe are growing taller and melting glaciers are partly responsible, scientists say. Heavy glaciers cause the Earth’s crust to flex inward slightly. When glaciers disappear, the crust springs back and the overlaying mountains are thrust skyward, albeit slowly.

The European Alps have been growing since the end of the last little Ice Age in 1850 when glaciers began shrinking as temperatures warmed, but the rate of uplift has accelerated in recent decades because global warming has sped up the rate of glacier melt, the researchers say.

The conclusion is based on a new computer model that assumes that over timescales of a few years to thousands of years, the surface of the Earth behaves like a very thick fluid.
Live Science, 4/8/06

Christmas surprise

Forget decking the halls with boughs of holly. Native Wollemi pine trees, bags of cattle manure and carbon-offset gift vouchers are the way to achieve a sustainable Christmas this year, conservationists say.

Buying antique or pre-loved gifts from second-hand stores or the online auction site eBay avoids emissions from the manufacture of new ones.

Second-hand and recycled gifts are encouraged this year, and for that person who has everything – including a large carbon footprint – Origin Energy (www.originenergy.com.au) and Climate Friendly (www.climate friendly.com) offer gift certificates that offset carbon emissions.

Or, for between $15 and $40, Christmas shoppers can buy a duck, mosquito nets, cattle manure and literacy classes through aid group Oxfam Australia’s Unwrapped program to help those less fortunate.

Sun Herald (Australia), 14 Dec 2008

no flies on you!

House flies at Everest basecamp are another sign of climate change that is melting glaciers with worrying speed. Earlier this year Dawa Steven Sherpa was resting at Everest base camp when he and his companions heard something buzzing.

“What the heck is that?” asked the young Nepali climber. They searched and found a big black house fly, something unimaginable just a few years ago when no insect could have survived at 5,360 metres.

It’s happened twice this year – the Himalayas are warming up and changing fast, says Dawa, who only took up climbing seriously in 2006, but in a few years has climbed Everest twice as well as two 8,000m peaks in Tibet.

Heat Is Online, 12 Oct 2009 – originally The Guardian (UK) 12 Oct 2009)

speak for yourself, thank you

Australia’s Climate Commissioner, Professor Tim Flannery, believes we must move towards a global ant’s nest, regulated by a global intelligence, and sharing all resources equally. In this world there will be no room for individual choice, individuals will have their specialised roles defined and limited and world population will be massively reduced.
interview 2011- link – – see also BBC News article

thanks to mervyn

cannibalistic lobsters

First, rising sea temperatures brought on by global warming are encouraging the crustaceans to grow quicker and reproduce more often, says Noah Oppenheim, a marine biology graduate student at the University of Maine.

Second, Oppenheim tells Mother Jones, over-fishing has rid the ocean of the lobster’s natural enemies, which include cod, herring, and other fish.The result is a lot of lobsters that have nothing eat — which is why, as footage taken by Oppenheim shows, they have resorted to cannibalism.
TheWeek.com, 24 Jul 2013

thanks to Russell Cook

chaos as ocean fills with dizzy fish

Young coral reef fish with misshapen ear bones are more likely to get lost and die, and exposure to warmer waters makes the problem worse, according to a study of fish living around Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Monica Gagliano at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Queensland. Gagliano says that as-yet-unpublished work shows that exposing adult reef fish to higher water temperatures and increasingly acid water – both of which are associated with global warming – increases the percentage of offspring born with asymmetrical otoliths.

New Scientist, 6 Mar 2006, ‘Global warming poses deaf threat to tropical fish’

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

avoid bumping into blind cheetahs

“Namibia is under invasion by multiplying armies of thorny trees and bushes, which are spreading across its landscape and smothering its grasslands. Conservationists have found starving cheetahs that lost their sight after streaking through bush encroached habitats in pursuit of fleet footed food

….an emerging body of science indicates that rapidly increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide may be boosting the onrushing waves of woody vegetation. Are blind, starving cheetahs useful symbols of climate change? You decide.”
The Guardian, 21 Jun 2013

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

just when you thought it was safe…

Two deaths in the waters off California and Mexico last week and a spate of shark-inflicted injuries to surfers off Florida’s Atlantic coast have left beachgoers seeking an explanation for a sudden surge in the number of strikes.

In the first four months of this year, there were four fatal shark attacks worldwide, compared with one in the whole of 2007, according to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

A contributory factor to the location of shark attacks could be global warming and rising sea temperatures.

‘You’ll find that some species will begin to appear in places they didn’t in the past with some regularity,’ Dr George Burgess of Florida University said.

The Guardian, 4 May 2008

see also – invasion!

silver lining?

The global financial crisis could give the world two or three years of much-needed time to step up the fight to slow climate change the climate change advisor for the former federal government, Ross Garnaut, said.

Professor Garnaut told a conference of agricultural and resource economists in Cairns that the crisis for markets will not change the extent of global warming the world faces, but will delay its onset by several years.

“The global financial crisis gives us a little breathing space but mitigation of climate change remains urgent, and of central importance,” he said

The Age (Australia), 12 Feb 2009 – screen copy held by this website

making waves

Climate change’s effect on the size of waves in the world’s oceans could be more significant than sea-level rise, scientists warn.

An international team led by CSIRO researcher Mark Hemer has begun studying how global warming will influence the generation of swells and what impact that may have on sandy coastlines such as Australia’s.

Newcastle Herald, 19 Apr 2013

no brides for brothers

“That evening I learnt of a most remarkable consequence of the drought. The Samburu circumcise their youths in grand ceremonies, which are held every seven years or so, when enough cattle and other foods have accumulated to support such celebrations. Circumcision represents a transition to manhood, and until a youth has passed it he can’t marry.

“But it’s been 14 years since a circumcision ceremony has been held here. There are now 40,000 uncircumcised young men, some in their late 20s, waiting their turn. All of the eligible young women, tired of waiting, have married older men (multiple wives are allowed), so there are no wives for the new initiates.

“I could never have imagined that climate change would have such an effect on an entire society.”

The Age, 2 Nov 2007, re Professor Tim Flannery, An Explorers Notebook

cliches not threatened

A study published in the June 10 issue of the journal Nature clearly demonstrates changes in species ranges as butterflies shift north to track a changing climate as the planet warms up.

Camille Parmesan, Ph D., and her co-investigators found that out of 57 species studied in Europe and North Africa, 35 of which there were data for both the northern and southern range boundaries, two thirds had shifted northward. Most of the remaining one third remained stable.

“This puts the nail in the coffin,” said Parmesan of the results. “It’s black and white.”
University of California, Santa Barbara, 10/6/99

punch drunk butterflies heaven bound

California butterflies are reeling from a one-two punch of climate change and land development, says an unprecedented analysis led by UC Davis butterfly expert Arthur Shapiro. Their most significant findings:

•Butterfly diversity (the number of different species present) is falling fast at all the sites near sea level. It is declining more slowly or holding roughly constant in the mountains, except at tree line.
•At tree line, butterfly diversity is actually going up, as lower-elevation species react to the warming climate by moving upslope to higher, cooler elevations.
•Diversity among high-elevation butterflies is beginning to fall as temperatures become uncomfortably warm for them and, Shapiro says, “There is nowhere to go except heaven.”

Science Daily, 12 Jan 2010

fore!

An environmental expert in St Andrews has warned the year 2050 could see the town’s famous golf course, the Old Course, crumble into the North Sea. Professor Jan Bebbington, director of the St Andrews Sustainability Institute, has visualised the effect of climate change on Scotland in 50 years.
BBC News, 13 Oct 2008

shrinking bumblebees!

Global warming and evolution are reshaping the bodies of some American bumblebees, a new study finds.

The tongues of two Rocky Mountains species of bumblebees are about one-quarter shorter than they were 40 years ago, evolving that way because climate change altered the buffet of wildflowers they normally feed from, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

While biologists have tracked how global warming has altered the developmental, migration, timing and other behavior in plants and animals, what makes this study unusual is the physical changes in the bees, said study co-author Candace Galen at the University of Missouri.

“It speaks to the magnitude of the change of the climate that it’s affecting the evolution of the organisms,” Galen said. “It’s a beautiful demonstration of adaptive evolution.”

Heat Is Online – The Associated Press, 24 Sep 2015

jellyfish on the move!

A blood-orange blob the size of a small refrigerator emerged from the dark waters, its venomous tentacles trapped in a fishing net.

Within minutes, hundreds more were being hauled up, a pulsating mass crowding out the catch of mackerel and sea bass.

The fishermen leaned into the nets, grunting and grumbling as they tossed the translucent jellyfish back into the bay, giants weighing up to 200 kilograms (450 pounds), marine invaders that are putting the men’s livelihoods at risk.

The venom of the Nomura, the world’s largest jellyfish, a creature up to 2 meters (6 feet) in diameter, can ruin a whole day’s catch by tainting or killing fish stung when ensnared with them in the maze of nets here in northwest Japan’s Wakasa Bay.

Scientists believe climate change — the warming of oceans — has allowed some of the almost 2,000 jellyfish species to expand their ranges, appear earlier in the year and increase overall numbers, much as warming has helped ticks, bark beetles and other pests to spread to new latitudes.

These increases in jellyfish should be a warning sign that our oceans are stressed and unhealthy, said Lucas Brotz, a University of British Columbia researcher.

Heat Is Online – The Associated Press, 16 Nov 2009

bearded lady lizard

Bearded dragon sex switched by heat. Similarly, the sex Australian central bearded dragons can be “switched” by heat.

A team of researchers led by Alex Quinn at Canberra University in Australia recently incubated eggs at relatively high temperatures – between 34°C and 37°C and found that the majority of embryos that had ZZ sex chromosomes (genetically male), went on to hatch as females.

The team is worried that the lizards may not be able to adapt fast enough to warming temperatures, leading to males being wiped-out altogether.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007

march of the super intelligent lizards

“Just when it seemed like we knew all the dangers of climate change, science has to go and throw us this curveball. Warmer temperatures make lizards’ brains develop differently. Last thing we need is some newly super-intelligent lizards judging us.

That’s the finding of researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia, who tested how rising temperatures affected the intelligence of the tiny lizard species known as the three-lined skinks.”
io9.com, 21 Jan 2012

vanishing redheads

Scientists believe the gene that causes red hair is an evolutionary response to cloudy skies and allows inhabitants to get as much Vitamin D as possible. But if predictions of rising temperatures and blazing sunshine across the British Isles turn out to be correct, flaming red heads could cease to exist within centuries.

Dr Alistair Moffat, managing director of Galashiels-based ScotlandsDNA, said: “We think red hair in Scotland, Ireland and in the North of England is adaption to the climate.”
The Mirror(UK), 6 Jul 2014

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

witches

In rural Tanzania, murders of elderly women accused of witchcraft are a very common form of homicide. And when Tanzania suffers unusual rainfall — either drought or flooding — witch-killings double, according to research by Edward Miguel, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley.

“In bad years, the killings explode,” Professor Miguel said. He believes that if climate change causes more drought years in Tanzania, the result will be more elderly women executed there and in other poor countries that still commonly attack supposed witches.
New York Times, 13 Apr 2008

Iceland will rise again!

Sea levels aren’t the only things rising due to climate change — swaths of land are too, including the nation of Iceland. That’s according to a new study published by a team of geologists from the University of Arizona. According to their research, the melting of Iceland’s glaciers has reduced pressure on the ground beneath them, causing the land to “rebound” from the Earth’s crust.
The Washington Post, 2 Feb 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

whales off course

Birds, whales and other migratory creatures are suffering from global warming that puts them in the wrong place at the wrong time, a U.N. official told 166-nation climate talks on Monday.

A warmer climate disrupts the biological clocks of migratory species including bats, dolphins, antelopes or turtles, said Lahcen el Kabiri, deputy head of the U.N.’s Bonn-based Convention on Migratory Species.

They are the most visible warning signs — indicators signalling the dramatic changes to our ecosystems caused in part by climate change, he told delegates on the opening day of a May 7-18 U.N. meeting searching for new ways to offset warming.

Climate change affects all migratory species, El Kabiri, a Moroccan, told Reuters. He said that whales were sometimes in the wrong place to feed on fish and plankton which were thriving closer to the poles because of warmer oceans.

Heat Is Online – originally Reuters, 8 May 2007

insects threatened!

Many tropical insects face extinction by the end of this century unless they adapt to the rising global temperatures predicted, US scientists have said.

Researchers led by the University of Washington said insects in the tropics were much more sensitive to temperature changes than those elsewhere.

In contrast, higher latitudes could experience an insect population boom. The scientists said changes in insect numbers could have secondary effects on plant pollination and food supplies.

In the tropics, many species appear to be living at or near their thermal optimum, a temperature that lets them thrive, said Joshua Tewksbury of the University of Washington.

But once temperature gets above the thermal optimum, fitness levels most likely decline quickly and there may not be much they can do about it, he added.

Heat Is Online, – originally BBC News, 6 May 2008

penguins pining away

Penguins and post-El Niño stress disorder. It seems that Galápagos penguin may suffer from post-El Niño stress disorder.

After the strong El Niño events of 1982?83 and 1997?98 populations declined by more than 60%, according to F. Hernán Vargas of the University of Oxford and colleagues.

They also looked at what this means for the future of the species and found a 30% chance it will disappear entirely within 100 years, if El Niño events keep happening with the same frequency.

If, however, the frequency increases, as predicted by some climatologists, the risk becomes greater. A doubling of the strong events leads to an 80% of extinction within 100 years.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007

where’s my haggis?

Global warming could pose a threat to a key ingredient used in one of Scotland’s most famous dishes. An increase in lungworm infections in sheep has been identified by the Scottish Agricultural College Veterinary Investigation Centre. The parasite renders sheep lung – used to make haggis – unfit for consumption.
BBC News, 2 Oct 2008

work opportunities for climate scientists

So worried are some fashion houses about the impact climate change is having on the way we dress and shop they are calling in the climate experts. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that American retail giant Liz Claibourne Inc enlisted a New York climatologist to speak to 30 of its executives on topics ranging from the types of fabrics they should be using to the timing of retail deliveries and seasonal markdowns.
The Age, 6 Oct 2006

that explains it!

New computer models that look at ocean temperatures instead of the atmosphere show the clearest signal yet that global warming is well underway, said Tim Barnett of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Speaking at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Barnett said climate models based on air temperatures are weak because most of the evidence for global warming is not even there. “The real place to look is in the ocean,” Barnett told a news conference.

Wired.com, 18 Feb 2005

walking the walk

Di Tod, 54, a clarinettist from Melbourne’s Burwood, is smarthly dressed and made up.

She also has soil under her nails, a hint of the 14 months she’s put into her 0.1 hectare permaculture garden which extends from the front of the house to the back “I’ve worked thousands of hours,” says Tod. “I’ll work from early morning until dark. I have literally planted by the moon.”

Tod says anxiety about climate chane and energy depletion prompted the dramatic life change. She recounts how three years ago she persuaded her reluctant family – her trumpeter husband, Bill Evans, 46, and their daughters, Molly, 18, and Emily, 16 – to move from their “pretty period home” in middle class Canterbury to a humble brick veneer house in Burwood.

The plan was to use money from the sale to finance a small farm, which would make them as self sufficient as possible.

“I’m your boring Mrs Eastern Suburbs sort of person – unless you talk to my kids who say, ‘Be normal Mum. Don’t be weird, don’t be a hippie!'” says Tod. “It wasn’t until I stumbled across websites about the impending collapse of global oil supplies that my fear ratcheted up a few notches. It felt like Armageddon. I just wanted to protect my family.”

The Sun Herald (Sydney) 29 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website

runaway warming process

Many scientists concede that without drastic emissions reductions by 2020, we are on the path toward a 4C rise as early as mid-century, with catastrophic consequences, including the loss of the world’s coral reefs; the disappearance of major mountain glaciers; the total loss of the Arctic summer sea-ice, most of the Greenland ice-sheet and the break-up of West Antarctica; acidification and overheating of the oceans; the collapse of the Amazon rainforest; and the loss of Arctic permafrost; to name just a few.

Each of these ecosystem collapses could trigger an out-of-control runaway warming process. Worse, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley now project that we are actually on course to reach global temperatures of up to 8C within 90 years.

CounterCurrents.org, 23 Sep 2010

see also – just plain scary

Greenland polar bears feel the heat!

Polar bear penis bones are shrinking in Eastern Greenland, according to Christian Sonne of the University of Aarhus in Denmark and colleagues.

They found that polar bears living in the Eastern Greenland are somewhat less well endowed than their cousins in Svalbard and the Canadian Arctic.

They say this could be due to the high prevalence of pollutants such as PCBs and DDT in Eastern Greenland – pollutants which records show are less prevalent in Svalbard and the Canadian Arctic.

In 2004, Steven Fergusson of the University of Manitoba in Canada showed that carnivores living in snowy environments, close to the poles, tend to have longer penis bones to help them be more competitive.

So Sonne’s group concludes that human pollution, combined with the difficulty of finding food in warming climates, may spell disaster for Eastern Greenland polar bears.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007

where do I put this thermometer?

Queenslanders have been urged to set their fridge temperatures to four degrees celsius to help combat climate change.

Premier Anna Bligh, who launched the initiative at Sea World’s polar bear shores on the Gold Coast, said climate change was everyone’s responsibility. If we had every Queenslander change the temperature of their fridge by one degree, it would be the equivalent of taking 11,000 cars off the road.

A television commercial will screen in the coming months and 50,000 free thermometers will be handed out as part of the campaign.
The Age (Australia), 23 Oct 2007

climate change in the basement

Wet basement last year? Blame climate change. Twin Cities waterproofing contractors say climate change has led to unprecedented demand for their services. “The climate has been changing,” said Peter Snyder, an associate professor of atmospheric science at the University of Minnesota.

“It’s pretty clear that we’re seeing more extremes.” While last year’s wet spring doesn’t mean Minnesotans should expect flooded basements every year, Snyder said, his work indicates that intense weather events are becoming increasingly frequent in the Upper Midwest.
Star Tribune, 3 Apr 2015

thanks to ddh

Scottish sheep shrink

Climate change is causing a breed of wild sheep in Scotland to shrink, according to research. Scientists say milder winters help smaller sheep to survive, resulting in this “paradoxical decrease in size”. The lead researcher in the study, Tim Coulson from Imperial College London, said the island provided an ideal opportunity to tease apart the factors driving the sheep’s physical change.
BBC News, 2 Jul 2009

thanks to Geir Aaslid

warning to all black sheep in the family

First scientists discovered that the milder winters were shrinking the sheep in the Outer Hebrides at a rate of 3.5 ounces (100g) a year as smaller, weaker lambs were surviving in the warmer weather. Now they have discovered the same process is turning the dark coats of Soay sheep on Hirta in the St Kilda archipelago lighter.

Dr Shane Maloney, an animal researcher whose findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, said: “If environmental effects are the cause of the decline, then we can expect the proportion of dark coloured Soay sheep to decrease further.”
The Telegraph, 22 Jul 2009

thanks to Geir Aaslid