Amazon rainforests not threatened

The Amazon rainforest is less vulnerable to die off because of global warming than widely believed because the greenhouse carbon dioxide also acts as an airborne fertilizer, a study showed on Wednesday.

“I’m no longer so worried about a catastrophic die-back due to CO2-induced climate change,” Professor Peter Cox of the University of Exeter in England told Reuters of the study he led in the Journal Nature. “In that sense it’s good news.
Reuters, 6 Feb 2013

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return of the butterfly

The large blue butterfly went extinct in the UK in 1979 despite a prolonged campaign by conservationists to try and save the species.

Prof Jeremy Thomas, head of ecology at Oxford University, said it is only now that the climate is warming and suitable spots have been discovered in the Cotswolds that the species is able to start spreading across Britain once again.
The Telegraph (UK) 28 Jun 2010 “Climate change brings back endangered butterfly”

how now brown owl?

Tawny owls turn brown to survive in warmer climates, according to scientists in Finland. Feather colour is hereditary, with grey plumage dominant over brown. But the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that the number of brown owls was increasing. As winters become milder, the scientists say, grey feathered tawny owls are likely to disappear.

This study indicates that the birds are evolving in response to climate change. Climate-driven selection has led to an evolutionary change in the population. Dr Patrik Karell from the University of Helsinki, who led the study, gathered together data from long-term tawny owl studies carried out across Finland over the last 30 years.
BBC News, 22/2/11

watch out for giant crabs!

Researchers from the University of Southampton have drawn together 200 years’ worth of oceanographic knowledge to investigate the distribution of a notorious deep-sea giant – the king crab.

The results, published this week in the Journal of Biogeography, reveal temperature as a driving force behind the divergence of a major seafloor predator; globally, and over tens of millions of years of Earth’s history.

“Recent range extensions of king crabs into Antarctica, as well as that of the red king crab Paralithodes camtchaticus in the Barents Sea and along the coast off Norway emphasise the responsiveness of this group to rapid climate change,” said research student Sally Hall.
Science Daily, 19/7/09

ice hockey threatened

A quintessentially Canadian winter tradition – outdoor ice hockey – could be facing extinction within decades because of climate change, a new study says.

The ice season has shortened noticeably over the last 50 years, especially in southern British Columbia and Alberta and parts of the prairie provinces, the study in the Institute of Physics’ journal, Environmental Research Letters, says.
The Guardian, 5 Mar 2012

urgent warning!

As glacial meltwater floods into oceans and the global sea level rises with climate change, the distribution of weight on the Earth’s crust will shift from land to sea. This shift in weight distribution could cause volcanoes to erupt more often, some studies suggest. Humans in the 21st century probably won’t experience this shift, however, since this effect seems to lag by up to about 2,500 years.
Live Science, 5 Aug 2013

brighter bugs beat polar bears

It turns out Europe’s insects are getting lighter on average in response to increasing temperatures. “For two of the major groups of insects, we have now demonstrated a direct link between climate, insect color and habitat preference,” explained Carsten Rahbek, co-author of the study and the Director of the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen and professor at Imperial College London.

The survival of the humble bumble bee or the innocuous ant play a pivotal role in defining our natural world as this Earth’s climate changes. Ultimately, the color change in butterfly wings will have a bigger impact on Earth’s biodiversity than all the polar bears in the world.
Discover, 27 May 2014

Canary in the coal mine – beetles

Beetles, the new canary in a coalmine. Although this number appears to be small, it has effectively removed nature’s ecological cold curtain enabling mountain pine beetles an opportunity to speed up their life cycle, invade and decimate high elevation pine forests across the continent.

Instead of absorbing CO2, billions of beetle-killed trees across the West are decaying and stoking the ever-rising pool of greenhouse gases.
Ruidoso News, 24 Jan 2012

Canary in the coal mine – Marshall Islands

Canary in a coal mine: Extreme weather, rising seas plague atoll nation. Marshall Islands president issues a call to action ahead of international climate summit next week hosted by the UN. As global leaders gear up to meet at next week’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York, the president of a small Pacific island nation vulnerable to rising seas caused by global warming said the future of his people depends on creating a carbon-free world by 2050.
Al Jazeera America, 18 Sep 2014

Canary in the coal mine – the godwit, plover and snipe

The unavoidable sea level rises, which are already thought to be locked in by current greenhouse gas emission levels, are expected to devastate water bird populations, according to advice from Birds Australia. Migratory birds like the black-tailed godwit, the grey plover and Latham’s snipe can be regarded as the ”canaries in the coalmine” for climate change, said Dr Eric Woehler of Birds Australia, who gave evidence to the parliamentary committee.
Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Oct 2009

Canary in the coal mine – amphibians

Amphibians: Canaries in the environmental coal mine. Amphibian die-off, like the death of canaries by noxious gases in coal mines during the last century, may be warning us of serious environmental dangers ahead. Frogwatch USA is a partnership program affiliated with USGS and designed to enlist the aid of volunteers in describing and monitoring amphibians nationwide.

This year–designated “The year of the frog” by Amphibian Ark, a conservation organization–the Fort Collins Natural Areas Program is using its cadre of volunteers to make a baseline survey of amphibians in Fort Collins natural areas.
North Forty News, July 2008

Canary in the coal mine – freshwater mussels

During laboratory tests, USGS scientists and partners found that the heart and growth rates of some species of young freshwater mussels declined as a result of elevated water temperatures, and many died.

Freshwater mussels have been compared to the “canary in the coal mine” in that they are indicators of good water and sediment quality in U.S. rivers.

They are also important in the aquatic food web, filter large amounts of water and suspended particles, and serve as food for other organisms. The study is published in the December issue of the journal Freshwater Science.
US Geological Survey, 3 Dec 2013

Canary in the coal mine – Florida Keys

“We are feeling some of the most severe impacts of climate change first, and we have no escape route,” says Alison Higgins, President of Florida Keys Green Living and Energy Education and staff of The Nature Conservancy, thinking about the limitations to adaptation in the Keys.

“We’re the canary in the coal mine for climate change impacts in the U.S…We want to be seen as an example of why it’s important for other local governments to work hard on [climate] mitigation [to reduce carbon emissions.] Because that’s going to help us, and themselves.”
ICLEI USA

Canary in the coal mine – shrimp

Shrimp like canaries in coal mine, indicating health of stocks, water temperature. Peter Koeller, a Canadian fisheries scientist, said the findings shed light on the complex mating habits of the Pandalus borealis, the shrimp species that makes up one of the world’s largest fisheries and sustains an industry worth $500 million a year in the North Atlantic.

“Shrimp are very sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, be they global warming-driven or otherwise,” Koeller said from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, N.S., about the research to be published Friday in the journal Science.
Canadian Press, 8 May 2009

Canary in the coal mine – Maldives

Maldives May Be Canary In The Coal Mine. Alas, the high point in this entire nation of 1,200 islands is only 8 feet above sea level. So people here worry that eventually the entire nation may have to move, making the Maldives perhaps the first country in the world to be destroyed by global warming. (Tuvalu and Kiribati, both small Pacific island nations, are other contenders for the title of the first modern nation to be drowned).
Sun Sentinel, 13 Jan 2006

Canary in the coal mine – estuaries

When it comes to climate change impacts, estuaries are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. These unique habitats, which are also home to 22 of the world’s 32 largest cities and are essential hubs for global commerce, face not just the threat posed by rising sea levels, but also a complex nexus of increasing storm risks, droughts, water and air pollution and marine dead zones.
Greenbiz, 7 Jul 2014

lightning might strike twice!

To the ever-growing list of projected effects from global warming, add a curious entry: a potentially huge jump in lightning strikes in the United States.

David M. Romps, an atmospheric physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the work, said the change would come about from a global temperature increase of roughly 7 degrees fahrenheit. “This increase in lightning is an example of a fairly large change you can get from what sounds like a relatively small global temperature increase,” Romps said.
Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Nov 2014

gasping fish and panting squid

Unless we find a way to rein in our carbon emissions very soon, a low-oxygen ocean may become an inescapable feature of our planet. A team of Danish researchers published a particularly sobering study last year. They wondered how long oxygen levels would drop if we could somehow reduce our carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2100. They determined that over the next few thousand years oxygen levels would continue to fall, until they declined by 30 percent.

The oxygen would slowly return to the oceans, but even 100,000 years from now they will not have fully recovered. If they’re right, fish will be gasping and squid will be panting for a long time to come.
Resilience, 5/8/10

I feel the Earth move …..

University of Toronto study shows that rainfall-induced erosion affects movements of continental plates.

The erosion caused by rainfall directly affects the movement of continental plates beneath mountain ranges, says a University of Toronto geophysicist — the first time science has raised the possibility that human-induced climate change could affect the deep workings of the planet.

“In geology, we have this idea that erosion’s going to affect merely the surface,” says Russell Pysklywec, a professor of geology. “It goes right down to the mantle thermal engine — the thing that’s actually driving plate tectonics. It’s fairly surprising — it hasn’t been shown before.”
Eureka Alert, 20/4/06

Diego Maradona makes a comeback!

Eskimos and scientists report a strange “lightness at noon” that is turning the usual all-day darkness of the high Canadian Arctic into twilight, apparently in defiance of natural laws. Canadian government officials say it may be the result of an unusual atmospheric phenomenon caused by global warming.

Wayne Davidson, the Canadian government official who runs the station, says he believes it it caused by climate change. For the past five years, Mr Davidson says, there has been a growing light along the horizon in the middle of the day in winter. “The entire horizon is raised like magic, like the hand of God is bringing it up,” he says.
Rense.com, 19 Dec 2004

Policy decision regarding the views of climate pause deniers

After careful consideration this website has made the following policy decision.

Given the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence in favour of the 18 year hiatus in global warming, this website will no longer give coverage of the views of climate pause deniers.

This announcement will remain in place for a few days. Future articles will examine whether climate pause denialism should be regarded as a form of psychological pathology.

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Canary in the coal mine – lobster

The New England lobster, under threat from disease and invasive species, may be the “canary in the coal mine” of climate disruption, according to a new report that examines case studies from around the nation about how global warming is altering wildlife habitats.

Lobsters are king, Wahle said. “If lobsters aren’t the canary in the coal mine, then we might at least consider them a poster child for marine climate change.” Rick Wahle, a research associate professor at the University of Maine.
Public News Service Feb 2013,

great news….watch the football instead!

Research confirms that highly manicured lawns produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up. Grass lawns soak up carbon dioxide, which is stored in the soil after the cut grass rots and so, like trees, they are considered good for the planet.

But Dr Chuanhui Gu of Appalachian State University in the US says that once the energy expended by mowing, fertiliser use and watering are taken into account, lawns actually produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up.
The Independent, 18 Jan 2015

for new category – action plan

more than a metre

More cyclones, rising sea levels and increased flooding will be the pattern for Australia’s coastal communities by 2050, a South Australian climate expert says. Professor Nick Harvey said Australia should expect sea levels to rise more than a metre by the end of the century. “We will experience more intense tropical cyclones and storms will be more frequent” Prof Harvey said.
The Age, 6 Apr 2007

22 feet (6.7 metres)

Dr Tim Lenton of the University of East Anglia, believes the risk are far greater than the IPCC suggests. Speaking at a meeting in Cambridge organised by the British Antarctic Survey, Dr Lenton said: “We are close to being committed to a collapse of the Greenland ice sheet. But we don’t think we have passed the tipping point yet.”

But if the climate change crisis reached the point of no return and it were to melt then global sea levels would rise by 22ft and swallow up most of the world’s coastal regions.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Aug 2007

they’re onto us!

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity “prepare for actual contact”.
The Guardian, 19 Aug 2011

see also – Say what?

Canary in the coal mine – walrus

Huge Walrus Haul-Out Signals Latest ‘Canary in the Coalmine’ for Climate Change in the Arctic.

Margaret Williams, managing director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic program told the Associated Press, “The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change.”
The Scuttlefish, 3 Oct 2014

Canary in the coal mine – oysters

A company near San Diego raises oysters. Last year, Dennis Peterson says they could only get a quarter of the young oysters, or seed, they need from hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. Dennis Peterson worries about what that means for his oysters.

“When it comes to climate change,” he says, “the oyster in the ocean is like a canary in a coal mine.”
CBS News, 27 Sep 2013

Canary in the coal mine – monarch butterfly

The poster child for conservation is at risk of being at risk. Environmental groups across the country are stepping up efforts to increase the population of monarch butterflies as the insects face being designated as a species at risk.

“They’re currently an international species of concern. The monarch butterfly is like the canary in the coal mine of climate change and conservation,” said Maxim Larrivée, the University of Ottawa professor who developed ebutterfly.ca, an online database of butterfly observation.
The Star, Canada, 22 Jul 2012

Canary in the coal mine – frog

Thus a climate canary would be an animal that is susceptible to the impacts of climate change. In that sense, frogs and other amphibians could be considered the “Canaries of global warming”.
Environmental Systems Studies: A Macroscope for Understanding and Operating … By Hidefumi Imura published by Springer, Japan, 2013 p49

Canary in the coal mine – finch

When it comes to global warming, the canary in the coal mine isn’t a canary at all. It’s a purple finch.

An Audubon Society study released Tuesday found that more than half of 305 birds species in North America, a hodgepodge that includes robins, gulls, chickadees and owls, are spending the winter about 35 miles farther north than they did 40 years ago.
NBC News, 10 Feb 2009

Canary in the coal mine – Alaska

At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders called Alaska the “canary in the coal mine” on climate change and cited threats to Native American communities from rising seas as a result of global warming.

The village of Newtok, Alaska, near the Arctic Circle, may be underwater by 2017, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sanders noted. More than 180 other native Alaskan villages also are at risk because of climate change, Sanders added.
Bernie Sanders, US Senator for Vermont website 5 Mar 2015

Canary in the coal mine – Napa Valley

Is Napa Valley the canary in the coal mine? Climate change, the bad, the good and the unknown…

There is little consideration for the potential impact of global warming on all forms of agriculture and human and animal activity – were this apocalypse to come true, one could argue that world hunger, deforestation, coastal flooding and other horrific environmental changes would dominate the world’s agenda and no one would care about where the best Cabernet Sauvignon is produced.
Napa Valley vintners website

Canary in the coal mine – air travel

Canary in the coalmine: Norwegian attitudes towards climate change and extreme long-haul air travel to Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Aviation has been identified as a rapidly growing contributor to CO2 emissions. This article reports on a research project that explored Norwegian attitudes towards climate change, particularly as they relate to extreme long-haul air travel to Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Tourism Management Volume 32, Issue 1, February 2011, Pages 98–105 James E.S. Higham, Scott A. Cohen1

Canary in the coal mine – Canadian mines

Canary in a coal mine: perceptions of climate change risks and response options among Canadian mine operations. A survey documenting how climate change is perceived and responded to by Canadian mine operations was administered to a random sample of practitioners working at mine sites across Canada.
Climatic Change December 2011, Volume 109, Issue 3-4, pp 399-415 James D. Ford, Tristan Pearce, Jason Prno, Frank Duerden, Lea Berrang Ford, Tanya R. Smith, Maude Beaumier

Canary in the coal mine – cherry blossoms

DC’s Cherry Blossoms as Climate Change Canary…As a native of the Washington area, the Cherry Blossoms are perhaps the quintessential universal symbol of nature’s beauty. In short, a November 11 published scientific study from University of Washington suggests that Washington, D.C., will have to move the Cherry Blossom up by nearly a month by 2050 or risk having blossom-less trees for the parade.
Huffington Post, 15 Mar 2012

Canary in the coal mine – Kiribati

There is a tendency in much of the world to view climate change as a slow and gradual process where the harmful effects will be able to prevented before they occur. What is happening in Kiribati is evidence to the contrary.

Kiribati is “like the canary in the coal mine in terms of the dramatic impact of climate change on a whole civilization of people,” says Harvard University biological oceanographer James J. McCarthy. “They didn’t cause the problem, but they are among the first to feel it.”
Kiribati: Climate Change website

Canary in the coal mine – Aspen

The Canary Initiative is so named because Aspen (which is economically dependent on winter snow for recreation and summer snow pack for water supply) sees itself as a canary in the coal mine for climate change. The Initiative called for: a green house gas (GHG) emissions inventory, an assessment of impacts due to climate change, an action plan and education and advocacy on regional, state and national levels.
City of Aspen Canary Initiative, Climate Action Plan

Canary in the coal mine – Australian ski industry

The Australian ski industry represents a ‘canary in the coalmine’. Globally, it is one of the first and most visibly impacted industries by the risk of climate change.

This study explores the perceptions of people associated with the operations of ski resorts in south-eastern Australia. It was hypothesised that ski resorts, given the value of their assets, would anticipate and respond to the threat of climate change.
Geographical Research Volume 44, Issue 4, pages 386–400, December 2006

Canary in the coal mine – coral

Corals, Earth’s Canary in Coal Mines, Facing ‘Calamitous’ Global Declines. The current state of most of the world’s coral reefs is so calamitous that it’s difficult to over-dramatize the situation. Reefs have seen massive declines around the globe, and while there is much debate about which particular threat is most responsible, most scientists agree humans are to blame.
Yale Climate Connections, 1 Sep 2009

Canary in the coal mine – big trees

The researchers suspect that climate change is the biggest culprit and that big trees are acting as the ‘canary in the coalmine’ for the effects of global warming on the world’s forests. Big trees are more susceptible to high temperatures and water shortages than smaller trees.

“Older, larger trees are declining because of disease, drought, logging and other factors, but what stands out is that this decline is statewide,” said lead author Patrick McIntyre, of the University of California in Berkeley.
The Independent 22 Jan 2015

Canary in the coal mine – Australia

He was talking about the floods in his region, but the sense that Australia – which maintains one of the highest per-capita carbon footprints on the planet – has summoned up the wrath of the climate gods is everywhere.

“Australia is the canary in the coal mine,” says David Karoly, a top climate researcher at the University of Melbourne. “What is happening in Australia now is similar to what we can expect to see in other places in the future.”
Rolling Stone, “Climate change and the end of Australia” 3 Oct 2011

Canary in the coal mine – Arctic

“Climate change in the Arctic is a reality now!” So insists Robert Corell, an oceanographer with the American Meteorological Society. Wild-eyed proclamations are all too common when it comes to global warming, but in this case his assertion seems well founded. That points to one reason the world should pay attention to this week’s report.

Like a canary in a coal mine, the hyper-sensitive polar regions may well experience the full force of global warming before the rest of the planet does.
The Economist 11/11/04

Canary in the coal mine – national parks

David Frey: National Parks are a climate change canary. National parks across the country are facing landscape-altering changes at the hands of global warming. Most famous is the melting ice at Glacier National Park in Montana. The question at hand is: How long will it be until that name is a misnomer? How long until those beautiful glaciers are gone for good? Not long.
Aspen Times, 13 Oct 2009

Canary in the coal mine – birds …

“The canary in the coal mine.” That phrase has become part of the lexicon as a warning for danger. Now birds are cautioning humans about the imminent threat of climate change—and the news is not good. This from a report based on seven years of research by the National Audubon Society.

The Common Loonis a familiar bird for people out fishing or swimming in the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. Our Climate Report suggests that loons may no longer be in Minnesota by the end of the century.
Daily Kos, 16 Feb 2015, “Birds tell an urgent climate message”

Canary in the coal mine – … and bees

Scott Groom, PhD student at Flinders University has engaged mathematical modelling to identify changes in bee populations over the past 20,000 years across the South Pacific region and says that exceptionally large declines in bee populations coincided with changes in temperature, ABC News reports.

“They’re almost canaries in the coal mine, you can see that they’re going to be the first sort of species to be impacted by changes in climate,” Groom said.
Food Magazine 9 May 2014

Canary in the coal mine – Bolivia

Bolivia, a canary in the coal mine. Recently, Bolivia has been experiencing the complete portfolio of climate impacts. In the past few years, Bolivia has faced record-breaking mudslides, a deceased glacier, soaring food prices, extreme droughts and frosts, and environmental-induced migration.

As one might expect, the impacts Bolivia faces have a causal relationship to the nation’s policy stance. It is hard to imagine a country so uprooted by the effects of climate change signing on to an agreement which has been predetermined to be incapable of achieving its goals.

It’s an unsettling thought that admits some level of defeat, but perhaps populations need to experience, on a local level, the impacts of climate change before they are willing to act upon them. Will Bolivia’s struggle soon be our own?
Arizona State University, Coping With Climate Change, 11 Apr 2011

Canary in the coal mine – shellfish growers

Ocean acidification is sometimes called the evil twin of climate change: Both are caused by rising amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. More CO2 dissolved in the water is making it harder for many creatures to form shells.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) said the rising acidity of the world’s oceans needs to be a national priority for economic reasons. “Ocean acidification is a jobs issue,” Cantwell said. “Shellfish growers are the canary in the coal mine.”
KUOW.org, Seattle News, 12 Aug 2014

Canary in the coal mine – the cryosphere

The planet’s ”canary in the coal mine” is showing disturbing symptoms and we have only years, not decades, to save it. The cryosphere – the regions of our Earth covered by snow and ice – has long been considered the “canary in the coal mine” for global warming. We already knew things were bad. We now know the future of snow and ice on our planet is actually much worse.
Jonas Gahr Stoere, Norway’s Foreign Minister. The Age, Australia 14 Dec 2009

Canary in the coal mine – trees

Researchers at Princeton University recently took a deep dive into the lovely autumnal colors of the Northeast and Midwest with an eye on climate change.

They found that as the planet heats up, fall foliage will respond in messy, unpredictable ways — and that as a whole, leaves will begin changing color later and the period in which bright orange, red and yellow leaves stay on trees will last longer.

But even though tourists in Vermont may celebrate, it’s important to note that the researchers’ findings indicate changes that could extend beyond fall photo ops.

Trees, as it turns out, are the canary in the coal mine.
Modern Farmer, 30 Sep 2014

Canary in the coal mine – agriculture

Agriculture — A Canary in the Coal Mine for Climate Change. An often overlooked culprit, the agricultural sector accounts for fourteen per cent — or as much as twenty-five per cent if you include agriculture-driven deforestation — of global greenhouse gas emissions.

At the same time, agriculture may be one of the greatest tools we have for mitigating climate change, and Massachusetts can lead that charge.
Massachusetts government website

Canary in the coal mine – Inuit

While this drama may seen remote and unimportant to those who defend what they believe to be their God-given right to burn fossil fuels, what befalls the Inuit may soon befall all of us. In simple terms, they are the canaries in the coal mine of climate change.

This was the profoundly moving message that 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Arctic activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier gave to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Communities Conference in Ottawa recently.
Common Dreams, 27 Feb 2008