missed it by that much!

Last year a series of lakes formed on the vast body of ice that covers most of Greenland. Acting like a lubricant, the water quickly made its way to the base of the ice sheet, forcing giant slabs of ice to rise, then slide into the ocean. The speed at which the ice broke off shocked many scientists.

“We used to think that it would take 10,000 years for melting at the surface of an ice sheet to penetrate down to the bottom. Now we know it doesn’t take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds,” says Richard Alley, a professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.
Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Feb 2007

climate change causes mixed metaphors!

Commenting on the report, United States Secretary of State John Kerry said: “This is yet another wake-up call. Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire. This is science, these are facts, and action is our only option.”

“If this isn’t an alarm bell, then I don’t know what one is. If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Sep 2013

their burp is worse than their ….

beef_cattleScientists from NSW’s Department of Primary Industries have been working for the past 15 years to find a way to breed more efficient beef cattle. After a decade of research, the scientists came up with a blood analysis that has been developed into a commercial test for selecting bulls able to breed the most food-efficient cows and steers.

Although it has been developed to cut farming costs, the scientists now believe the burp-reduced cattle will also help fight global warming, because methane is also a greenhouse gas, many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The leader of the department’s methane research effort, Roger Hegarty, said it may be possible to develop other methane-efficient animals, including sheep. Dr Hegarty estimated 95 per cent of methane from beef cattle was belched. The rest, he said, was “flatulence”.
Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Jun 2006

big winners!

When cockroaches are resting, they periodically stop breathing for as long as 40 minutes, though why they do so has been unclear.

To investigate the mystery, Natalie Schimpf and her colleagues at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, examined whether speckled cockroaches (Nauphoeta cinerea) change their breathing pattern in response to changes in carbon dioxide or oxygen concentration, or humidity.

They conclude that cockroaches close the spiracles through which they breathe primarily to save water. In dry environments the insects took shorter breaths than in moist conditions.

The nifty breath-holding adaptation has allowed cockroaches to colonise drier habitats, says George McGavin of the University of Oxford, and may allow them to thrive in climate change.

New Scientist, 18 Aug 2009

springback mountains

Though the average hiker wouldn’t notice, the Alps and other mountain ranges have experienced a gradual growth spurt over the past century or so thanks to the melting of the glaciers atop them.

For thousands of years, the weight of these glaciers has pushed against the Earth’s surface, causing it to depress. As the glaciers melt, this weight is lifting, and the surface slowly is springing back.

Because global warming speeds up the melting of these glaciers, the mountains are rebounding faster.

Livescience, 16 Aug 2011

save the trees!

Some 7,000 of around 100,000 tree species in the world are on the international IUCN Red List of endangered species, according to Douglas Gibbs, of Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

But experts believe around a quarter of tree species are already in danger, and that climate change could reduce the range of half the world’s plants and potentially put them at risk of extinction.

The Telegraph, 23 Sep 2008

Let them all out?

There is no population more captive to the effects of global warming than the incarcerated. A new study from Daniel W. E. Holt of the Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law explains over 144 pages what the climate-change toll truly is on the two-million-plus bodies caged in our prison system.

“The correctional sector may be alone in facing the prospect of viable constitutional litigation if it does not effectively adapt to the changing climate,” reads the report. The legal and fatal consequences of failing to adapt to climate change and overheating prisons are yet more rationale for reducing the incarcerated population, reads the report.
Mother Jones: Environment, 2 Oct 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

air conditioners to the rescue!

air_cond
Our innovative approach allows for presumably random variation in the distribution of daily temperatures to affect birth rates up to 24 months into the future.

We find that additional days above 80 °F cause a large decline in birth rates approximately 8 to 10 months later. The lack of a full rebound suggests that increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century.

…As an added cost, climate change will shift even more births to the summer months when third trimester exposure to dangerously high temperatures increases. Based on our analysis of historical changes in the temperature-fertility relationship, we conclude air conditioning could be used to substantially offset the fertility costs of climate change.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 21681, Issued in October 2015

thanks to ddh

ban camels!

camel_in_carAn Australian government report has proposed killing many of the country’s estimated 1.2 million wild camels as a climate change solution.It is considering awarding carbon credits for culling the non-native camels, which are widely considered an ecological and an agricultural pest.

Apparently, a camel produces an estimated 100 pounds of methane a year, which is roughly equivalent to 1.1 tons of carbon dioxide. Methane is twenty times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Almost half of all global methane emissions come from belching livestock, mainly cows but also pigs, goats, sheep – and camels.
Open Knowledge, 10 Jul 2011

see also – action plan

to plant, or not to plant?

Plant trees to soak up carbon dioxide – why not? But it’s more complicated than it sounds. As a meeting of the American Geophysical Union heard in December, computer models show that trees can cool the planet through photosynthesis, but only in the tropics.

The problem is that forests are dark and absorb sunlight, thereby raising the planet’s temperature. Light-coloured landscapes reflect sunlight and cool things down. In the United States and Europe, “the climate benefits of planting will be nearly zero”, according to American ecologist Govindasamy Bala. In the seasonally snow-covered regions at higher latitudes, “planting trees could be actually counter-productive”.

Other left field ideas include waiting for the next ice age, though best guesses put it at 40,000 years away.

The Sunday Age, 18 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Christmas – bah, humbug!

Escalating climate change will have an impact on every aspect of Australian Defence Force operations, a report warns, with rising natural disasters and changes to the “physical battle space” affecting Defence’s mission, facilities and strategic environment.

The ADF will have to permanently abandon the idea of Christmas as a time of relaxation and get used to a world where increased floods, fires, storms and cyclones keep it busy throughout summer.

The authors, led by strategic analyst Anthony Bergin and head of the Antarctic Climate Research Centre Tony Press, say the Chief of the Defence Force should appoint a climate change adviser.

Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Mar 2013

shrinking fish

As fish get smaller under man’s environmental impact they will become more prone to predators and a crucial food source will become more endangered than thought obvious, warn scientists.

Previous research has found some key fish species dwindle in size as larger specimens are trawled out and climate change affects the food chain.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Feb 2013

rise of the Grolars!

Polar and Grizzly bears would not normally share breeding habitats, but biologists from the American Museum of Natural History have recently reported Grizzlies moving into what was traditionally Polar bear territory, while an article in Nature has suggested that retracting Arctic sea ice may force Polar bears to migrate into Grizzly terrain.

Although Pizzly (or Grolar) bears – that is, Grizzly-Polar bear hybrids – have occasionally been bred in captivity, their existence in the wild was first proved in 2006 following DNA testing of a bear shot in the Canadian Arctic.

Geological Society of London blog, 5 Mar 2014

pot calling the kettle ….

Bill Moyers, the founding director of Public Affairs Television in Washington, retired three months ago, one of the United States’ most honoured journalists. Harvard Medical School that same month named him the recipient of its fourth annual Global Environmental Citizen Award.

“Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven. Ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.” Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Mar 2005

salps move in for the krill

Human activity is driving changes in the world’s oceans at a rate not seen for several million years, a series of reports has concluded.

Oscar Schofield, of Rutgers University in the US, said environmental change had been “profound” in the West Antarctic Peninsula and was altering the food chain on which whales in this polar region depend.

Blooms of phytoplankton, or microscopic plants, had decreased by 12 per cent in the past 30 years, and the size of the cells had also shrunk.

This had allowed jellyfish-like creatures called salps, which find it easier to feed on the small cells, to start to replace shrimp-like krill, on which whales depend for food. The Age (Australia), 18 Jun 2010

no flies on them!

The pesky little flies that hover around rotting fruit could act as a sensitive warning system for the effects of global warming.

Professor Ary Hoffmann, a member of the La Trobe and Monash University team that studied the vinegar flies, said the changes in the genetic composition of the fly populations because of hotter conditions was surprisingly rapid.

The researchers sampled flies from Tasmania to far north Queensland, visiting farms, fruit shops and some supermarkets. “We’d go in with a net and ask where they dumped their rotten fruit,” Professor Hoffmann said.

They then studied the genes, including one called Adh that is linked to metabolism.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30 Apr 2005

moving day

Arizona’s low taxes and living costs, friendly culture, arts scenes and easy access to outdoor activities make it an appealing state in which to settle.

And in decades ahead the state’s draw as a new home could be boosted as seas rise and oceans warm, forcing coastal residents to deal with fallout like strengthening storms, floods, mudslides and other disasters.

“We see natural disasters all over the world; but to be very close to one, and experience the utter helplessness, as well as the repeated evacuations, is very, very stressful,” says Jenni Aguilar, who moved her family to a four-bedroom house near Tucson from California on Memorial Day.

Climate Central, 7 Jun 2018

thanks to David Hanig

the clock is running!

A top climate scientist is warning that climate change will wipe out all of humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years.

In a recent speech at the University of Chicago, James Anderson — a professor of atmospheric chemistry at Harvard University — warned that climate change is drastically pushing Earth back to the Eocene Epoch from 33 million BCE, when there was no ice on either pole.

Recovery is all but impossible, he argued, without a World War II-style transformation of industry—an acceleration of the effort to halt carbon pollution and remove it from the atmosphere, and a new effort to reflect sunlight away from the earth’s poles.

This has do[sic] be done, Anderson added, within the next five years. “The chance that there will be any permanent ice left in the Arctic after 2022 is essentially zero,” Anderson said, “with 75 to 80 percent of permanent ice having melted already in the last 35 years.”

Gritpost, 19 Feb 2018

thanks to David Mulberry

amphibians jump the gun!

The timing of amphibian breeding is largely driven by environmental cues such as temperature and moisture (Carey and Alexander 2003); because of this, their breeding phenology may be directly affected by global warming.

In temperate regions may be even more susceptible to increases temperatures. Most temperate species spend a large portion of the year inactive, escaping either cold winters or hot summers. Subtle increases in temperature or moisture trigger them to emerge from their hibernacula.

Immediately upon emergence, they migrate to ponds or streams to breed. Thus, one hypothesized direct affect of global warming on amphibians is a trend towards early breeding as the average temperatures increase.

Amphibiaweb, 22 Feb 2006

save the whales!

whaleSouthern Ocean sperm whales have emerged as an unexpected ally in the fight against global warming, removing the equivalent carbon emissions from 40,cars each year thanks to their faeces, a study has found. The cetaceans have been previously fingered as climate culprits because they breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2) the most common grrenhouse gas. The study is lead authored by Trish Lavery of the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University at Adelaide.Daily Telegraph, 16 Jun 2010

happiness is a long hot bubble bath

bubble_bathThe latest geoengineering scheme involves turning the world’s oceans into a giant bubble bath, with hundreds of millions of tiny bubbles pumped into the seas. This would increase the water’s reflectivity and bring down ocean temperatures, according to Harvard University physicist Russell Seitz.

As the creative physicist said to the assembled crowd at an international meeting on geoengineering research: “Since water covers most of the earth, don’t dim the sun…. Brighten the water.” CBS News, 30 Mar 2010

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

Yes, but what does it sound like?

How our musos (musicians) are saving the planet.

“We recorded our first EP in an old converted Bedford fire engine truck run on vege oil. We drove down to the southern tip of Tassie and found a beautiful little bay surrounded by forest. During recording, the computers, mikes and amps were powered by solar panels and a wind generator on the roof of the truck. Those recordings went on to score us a record deal.”Sydney Morning Herald 30 Mar 2007 – screen copy held by this website

sacrilege!

kangarooSkippy could soon be on the menu for the climate change-conscious if they take note of a report showing a switch from beef to kangaroo could help cut greenhouse gases.

A report by the director of the sustainability centre at the University of NSW, Mark Diesendorf, says a 30 per cent reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is achievable but would need both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and a change of diet.

“Beef consumption is chosen in this measure because it is responsible for the biggest share of livestock-related methane emissions,” the report says. “This measure could be reduced by shifting to kangaroo meat and/or lower-meat diets.”
The Age (Australia), 11 Oct 2007

flesh eaters!

Scientists are working on an improved treatment for a debilitating flesh-eating disease which appears to be on the rise due to global warming.

Should global warming continue to ravage our planet at current rates, the numbers of people suffering Leishmaniasis, a flesh-eating and sometimes fatal disease will increase dramatically, experts warn.

Science Daily, 16 Aug 2007

see also – just plain scary

more infections!

Climate change is the latest threat to the world’s growing HIV epidemic, say Australian experts who warn of the “grim” outlook in the fight against the infectious disease.

A leading professor of health and human rights, Daniel Tarantola, has cautioned that global warming will indirectly make citizens of developing countries even more vulnerable to death and severe ill health from HIV/AIDS.

It was clear soon after the emergence of the HIV epidemic that discrimination, gender inequality and lack of access to essential services have made some populations more vulnerable than others, said Prof Tarantola, of the University of NSW.

Climate change will trigger a chain of events which is likely to increase the stress on society and result in higher vulnerability to diseases including HIV, said Prof Tarantola, who is due to address an HIV forum in Sydney.

The Age, 29 Apr 2008

see also – just plain scary

feathers ruffled

With daytime temperatures above freezing, the rains soaked young Adélie and gentoo penguins not yet equipped with water-repellent feathers.

At night, when the mercury dipped below freezing, the wet chicks froze. The experience, explorer Jon Bowermaster added, painted a clear and grim picture of the impact of global climate change. It’s not just melting ice, he said.

“It’s actually killing these cute little birds that are so popular in the movies.” he said

National Geographic, 2 Jul 2008

suicidal birds on the increase!

For years, airport officials have removed shrubs and trees that attract birds.

They have tried to scare them away with music, pyrotechnics and cannons. They have even raided birds’ nests and culled the adults with shotguns.

Still, birds, often geese, sometimes end up in plane engines, causing inconvenience, or worse.

“There is evidence both in North America and in Europe that birds are shifting their territories,” said Joel L. Cracraft, curator in charge of the department of ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History. “And that has been correlated with global warming.”

New York Times, 16 Jan 2009

more couch potatoes!

According to an August report by the nonprofit National Wildlife Federation, climate change is creating obstacles that can impede our time in the outdoors — namely, by increasing the number of pests.

Nature is critical to health, says Martha Berger, a children’s health officer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Climate change, she added, could “further alienate kids from nature.”

Huffington Post, 6 Sep 2014

more stings

Insect stings have been on the rise in Alaska, and experts think that global warming could be to blame.

Jeffrey Demain, director of the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Center of Alaska in Anchorage, “We think climate and temperature changes are creating a more favorable environment for their survivability.”

Demain and other experts believe this scenario could be part of a worldwide trend of stinging insects spreading northward in response to climate change.

National Geographic, 16 Jul 2008

bacon soars

Corn—one of the main commodity crops used to feed pigs bound for the supermarket—is threatened by not only climate-related drought and flooding, but also by the corn earworm, and damage from the pest is projected to worsen in the coming decades, thanks to warmer winters.

In fact, we’re already seeing the scenario unfold: Bacon prices surged over the summer, thanks to climate-related troubles in cornfields.

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

return of jaws

“The one thing that’s affecting shark attacks more than anything else is human activity,” said Dr George Burgess of Florida University, a shark expert who maintains the database.

As the population continues to rise, so does the number of people in the water for recreation. Another 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,” he said.

The Guardian, 4 May 2008

bumpy ride

Running atmospheric computer models, British researchers found a connection between climate change and turbulence, and they predict that the average strength of turbulence will increase by 10 to 40% by 2050.

The amount of airspace containing significant turbulence will most likely double, too.

“The main takeaway message for flyers is to expect less-comfortable flights in the coming decades, with the seatbelt sign switched on perhaps twice as often,” explains study coauthor and atmospheric scientist Paul Williams, PhD, a Royal Society research fellow at the University of Reading.

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

vanishing kelp

They are the mighty rainforests of the ocean, towering up to 25 metres from the seabed.

Like many forests on land, the giant kelp jungles in the waters off south-east Australia are gravely threatened by climate change, scientists say.

Karen Gowlett-Holmes, a marine biologist with the CSIRO and co-owner of Eaglehawk Dive Centre on the east coast of Tasmania, said the destruction of the kelp forests was having ”a huge impact” on marine ecology.

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Aug 2012

going south for the winter

Tropical fish lured south by currents.

The leader of the CSIRO’s Marine Climate Impacts and Adaptation Stream, Alistair Hobday, used modelling to indicate the likely future occurrences of 14 fish species throughout each month of the year.

In 95 per cent of the 25 scenarios, most species moved south, pointing to a pole-ward shift. Predictions are for more pelagic fish in southerly latitudes.

The evidence is backed by sightings of blue and striped marlin off Tasmania and Gippsland, and marlin, cobia, wahoo and Spanish mackerel in southern NSW.

Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Aug 2012

the last of the cows

Is Global Warming Leading To Cow Infertility?

Reproductive efficiency has suffered a dramatic decrease since the mid-1980s despite rapid worldwide progress in genetics and management of high producing dairy herds.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona propose that summer heat stress is likely to be a major factor related to low fertility in high producing dairy herds, especially in countries with warm weather.

Scientific Blogging, 5 Sep 2007

rewriting history

Contrary to common beliefs, societal collapses of the past have been caused by sudden climate change, not only by social, political and economic factors, Yale anthropologist Harvey Weiss reports in a new study published in this week’s Science.

We also know where the population growth will be greatest, Weiss adds. “We must use this information to design strategies that minimize the impact of climate change on societies that are at greater risk. This will require substantial international cooperation, without which the 21st century will likely witness unprecedented social disruptions.”

Sci Gogo 27 Jan 2001

more stones

As daily temperatures increase, so does the number of patients seeking treatment for kidney stones.

In a study that may both reflect and foretell a warming planet’s impact on human health, a research team found a link between hot days and kidney stones in 60,000 patients in several U.S. cities with varying climates.

“We found that as daily temperatures rise, there is a rapid increase in the probability of patients presenting over the next 20 days with kidney stones,” said study leader Gregory E. Tasian, MD, MSc, MSCE.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 10 Jul 2014

birds punched in gut

Half of all bird species in North America — including the bald eagle — are at risk of severe population decline by 2080 if the swift pace of global warming continues, the National Audubon Society concluded in a study released Monday.

“The scale of the disruption we’re projecting is a real punch in the gut,” said Gary Langham, chief Audubon scientist.

Seattle Times, 8 Sep 2014

bumblebees on the wane

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.

Study co-author Candace Galen at the University of Missouri worries that without long-tongued bees, some flowers will falter.

Also, she said shorter tongue bees often “cheat” and bite a hole in the flower’s side, which doesn’t help the plant spread its seeds.

Fox News Science, 25 Sep 2015

big picture, small picture

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Environmental Protection Administrator Gina McCarthy said climate change, if unconfronted, will bring about droughts, food shortages, economic disruption and other consequences.

She also warned that the changing climate could make the morning caffeine rush a thing of the past.

“Climate change puts the world’s coffee-growing regions at risk,” Ms. McCarthy said, adding that governments must consider climate change when making virtually every policy position, even those that on the surface seem to have nothing to do with the environment.

Washington Times, 11 Mar 2015

escaping climate change — at a price

The residence at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island will be available later this year cost at least $50,000 per night. The rate is based on how guests customize the undersea experience, according to hotel representatives.

The two-level suite is named The Muraka, which means “coral” in Dhivehi, the local language of the Maldives.

The undersea bedroom floor sits 16.4 feet below sea level and includes a king-size bedroom, living room, bathroom and a spiral staircase that leads to the upper-level living room.

abcnews, 3 May 2018

thanks to David Mulberry

we’re having a ….

Victoria could soon be hit by heatwaves in three out of every four years, as Australia becomes hotter, drier and increasingly drought ravaged.

Drought will occur twice as often and be twice as severe within 20 to 30 years, a joint report by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO examining the extent of drought in Australia has warned.

While this is a scientific report, parts of these high-level projections read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report, Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said yesterday.

The Age, 7 Jul 2008

not to be sneezed at

Australia’s hay fever sufferers can expect their torment to last longer and become more intense with climate change, according to researchers at home and abroad.

Global warming is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of tropical and subtropical grasses as they will be able to grow further south, Dr Rimmer wrote.

Additional effects of global warming may include earlier seasons, higher pollen loads and possibly more allergenic pollen.

Janet Rimmer is a respiratory physician and allergist at St Vincent’s Clinic in Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Oct 2014

early grapes

Researchers in Australia say they have pinpointed key factors in the early ripening of grapes, providing potential answers for wine growers threatened by global warming.

A team led by Leanne Webb at the CSIRO looked at 10 sites in southern Australia where there were highly-detailed records, stretching from 1985 to 2009, for all of these factors.

The most common driver of earlier ripening was higher temperature, deemed a significant factor at seven sites.

Executive style, 28 Feb 2012

never smile at a ….

Rising temperatures could force the birth of more female crocodiles and fewer males, an expert said today. The scenario could cause some croc populations to disappear.

Crocodile gender is determined by temperature during incubation. Nest temperatures of 89.6 to 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit (32-33 Celsius) result in males. Anything warmer or cooler produces females.

Temperatures typically vary from the top of a nest to the bottom, producing both genders.

LiveScience, 27 Nov 2006

poisoned fish

Known as ciguatera fish poisoning, the illness has been mostly tropical.

The higher risk tends to be the predatory species that eat herbivorous fish, said Christopher Bolsh, senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies.

“Ciguatera is probably the most serious human seafood poisoning issue.”

“Again, climate change appears to be playing a role. Microalgae thrive as waters warm but also as corals die off – an outcome triggered by more intense storms but also from coral bleaching,” Dr Murray, from the University of Technology, Sydney, said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Dec 2014

how do you like them …

Global warming is causing apples to lose some of their crunch, but it is also making them sweeter, a study has said.

Analysing data gathered from 1970 to 2010 at two orchards in Japan, a research team said on Thursday there was clear evidence that climate change was having an effect on apple taste and texture.

“All such changes may have resulted from earlier blooming and higher temperatures during growth season”, they wrote in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

Illawarra Mercury, 17 Aug 2013 – screencopy held by this website

fish going south

The wild barramundi may be forced to flee further south due to warmer waters, according to new research by Queensland government climate scientists.

Natural Resources Minister Craig Wallace said researchers from the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence had found projected rises in sea water temperatures due to global warming may decrease the numbers of fish in the state.

The Age, 26Jun 2007

feeling blue

Frustrated green scientists and environmental activists may be at a high risk of depression.

Susie Burke, a senior psychologist with the Australian Psychological Society, has done extensive work on the mental impact of climate change.

“We can be very sure that many people in the field of climate change are distressed – highly distressed – and it can have a significant psychosocial impact on their well-being,” Burke said.

“If you’re feeling stress, anger, guilt, anxiousness or hopelessness, it has effects on your life. Depression becomes a real risk.”

The Age, 14 Aug 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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