the vanishing cow!

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

worse than we thought – melting polar ice caps!

Climate scientists are saying that global warming, as evidenced by melting polar ice caps, is worse than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and that global emissions must peak by 2015 if climate chaos, and resulting human social chaos is to be avoided.

Green-labour alliances can inspire the broad-based community campaigns needed to make a just transition to renewable energy and new green jobs.

Geoff Evans is an environmental scientist and social ecologist, researching transitions to sustainability. He is a former Director of the Mineral Policy Institute, now working with Greenpeace on their Climate and Energy campaign.

A Just Transition to a clean, renewable energy economy is urgent – and possible, 1 Nov 2008

reservations about climate models!

Climate scientists have created an index of the year when the average climate of any given region on earth will likely push outside the extreme records experienced in the past 150 years should greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated.

Research leader Camilo Mora, from the University of Hawaii, said while scientists had repeatedly warned about climate change and its likely effects on biodiversity and people, their study showed change was already upon us.

“Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past,” said Dr Mora.

Australian climate scientist Sarah Perkins, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said the study’s results were in line with the latest global projections.But she expressed reservations about the study’s time frames, saying climate models were not designed to provide projections for such precise times and locations such as a year or a city.

The Age, 9 Oct 2013

standing room only!

Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government’s chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week.

He said the Earth was entering the “first hot period” for 60 million years, when there was no ice on the planet and “the rest of the globe could not sustain human life”.

The warning – one of the starkest delivered by a top scientist – comes as ministers decide next week whether to weaken measures to cut the pollution that causes climate change, even though Tony Blair last week described the situation as “very, very critical indeed.”

The Independent, 2 May 2004

gentoo leads chinstraps!

Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University studied breeding patterns of three species of Antarctic penguins: the Adélie, chinstrap, and gentoo.

While the Adélie and chinstrap migrate to the Western Antarctic Peninsula to breed every year, the gentoos are year-round residents. Because the Antarctic is one of the world’s most rapidly warming regions, Lynch hypothesized that these environmental changes would affect penguins’ reproduction.

She was right: Warmer temperatures have resulted in dwindling Adélie and chinstrap populations. The gentoos, however, are able to adapt to increased temperatures better since they live in the Peninsula year-round.

They’re doing it and doing it and doing it well — because they’ve been able to shift their breeding cycle earlier, their populations are actually growing.

Grist, 22 Mar 2012

no link too tenuous!

Well, new scientific research is mounting that could prove to be the tipping point. It just got way too personal.

Yes, early data suggests that global warming makes you fat. If anything could tip the scales, this could be it. Admittedly, the research is early and thin. But here’s how it goes.

Danish researchers were mapping the lifestyles of thousands of Danes in the MONICA studies related to cardiovascular health and obesity.

Lars-Georg Hersoug stumbled on a weird anomaly. Over a 22-year period, both thin and fat people put on weight, and the increase was proportionally the same. CO2 appears to make our blood more acidic, which influences our brain to want to eat more.

Hersoug surmised that excess CO2 in the atmosphere might be affecting hormones in the brain known as orexin neurons. Orexins stimulate eating, wakefulness and energy expenditure.

Huffington Post, 20 Nov 2014

if only they’d known about climate change in 1787!

Who (you might ask) is David Brearley?

Brearley plays a critical, and entirely accidental, role in climate change because of his position as the chair of the Committee on Postponed Parts within the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

The committee opted for a middle ground solution – an electoral college that would vote on behalf of the citizens, but which would be populated based on the number of congressional seats assigned to each State in the Union.

It is this solution, brilliant at the time, that leads us to Brearley’s legacy on climate change. Because over the course of the last 200 plus years, the electoral college, which provides for stronger voting power per person in more rural and less populated states, has elected four U.S. presidents who clearly lost the popular vote (1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016).

Two of those elections have occurred during the period in which we have known about the causes and impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change and in both cases, the impacts of those elections have very likely had profound impacts on our actions to address the challenge.

Washington Post, 19 Dec 2016

thanks to ddh

Flagship calls for planned retreat

The top government scientist leading Australia’s efforts to adapt to climate change has warned that some coastal communities will have to be abandoned in a “planned retreat” because of global warming.

Dr Andrew Ash, who directs the CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship program, said while some vulnerable coastal communities coud be protected by sea walls and levees, “there are going to be areas where that is not physically possible or it’s not cost effective to introduce any engineering solution and planned retreat becomes the only option.”

The Age (Australia), 23 Mar 2009 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – global warming effects!

One of those trying to give the polar bears a break and settle the argument is James McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography and an internationally known authority on climate change.

McCarthy was among a handful of top scientists who coordinated a remarkable report by the world scientific community this year that said global warming is real, it’s here, and it’s going to be worse than we thought.

“We already see effects that [indicate] the change in climate has occurred, And the projection of some of those [effects] into the future are not a pretty scene.”

Harvard University Gazette, 22 Mar 2001

fuzzy maths

The thawing of permafrost in one region of the Arctic will cause damage worth $65 trillion, or 80 per cent of the entire global economy last year, new research suggests.

According to a UN report released last year, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost, large-scale and irreversible thawing is already under way.

Under business-as-usual scenarios, in which nations continue to emit greenhouse gases at present rates, the total damage bill would be the equivalent of about $65 trillion, the paper said. This is about 80 per cent of the entire 2012 global economy.

If the world switched to a low-emissions path, the cost would be delayed somewhat and would end up being about $40 trillion.

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Jul 2013

nothing unaffected

Victorian bushwalkers have warned that climate change will discourage walkers from venturing out and make things more difficult and hazardous for those who do.

In a submission to the Senate inquiry on extreme weather events, Bushwalking Victoria says it has “serious concerns about the effects of climate change on bushwalking”. The Age (Australia), 22 Jan 2013

the incredible shrinking winter!

Peter Atkinson, professor of geography at the University of Southampton, examined satellite images of vegetation across the northern hemisphere from the past 25 years and found signs winter was being shrunk.

Earlier this month, supermarkets Waitrose and Tesco both announced that English strawberries were ripening early and hitting the shelves a week earlier than last year.

“There is much speculation about whether our seasons are changing and if so, whether this is linked to climate change. Our study is another significant piece of the puzzle, which may ultimately answer this question,” Prof Atkinson said.

Illawarra Mercury 29 Mar 2014 – screencopy held by this website

we’re the problem!

People are doing this. Let’s be clear about it. It’s not some natural phenomenon, like an earthquake or a volcanic eruption. It’s the actions of Homo sapiens.

What we are witnessing is a fundamental clash between the species, and the planet on which he lives, which is going to worsen steadily, and the more closely you observe it – or at least, the more closely I have observed it, over the past 15 years – the more I have thought that there is something fundamentally wrong with Homo sapiens himself.

Man seems to be Earth’s problem child.

Michel Mccarthy resigning as environmental editor of The Independent 29 Mar 2013

worse than we thought – greenhouse gas emissions!

It seems the dire warnings about the oncoming devastation wrought by global warming were not dire enough, a top climate scientist said on Saturday.

It has been just over a year since the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark report warning of rising sea levels, expanding deserts, more intense storms and the extinction of up to 30 per cent of plant and animal species.

But recent climate studies suggest that report significantly underestimates the potential severity of global warming over the next 100 years, a senior member of the panel said.

“We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected,” said Chris Field, who was a co-ordinating lead author of the report.

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Feb 2009

not bad, but worse!

There is a lot wrong with our world. But it is not as bad as many people think. It is worse.

Global warming is slowly but relentlessly changing the face of the planet. We are only in the early stages of this process, but already carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 375 parts per million, the highest level for at least half a million years.

Temperatures are projected to rise by up to 5.8 C this century, 10 times the increase of 0.6 C in the last century, and by 40% more than this in some northern land surface areas.

This means temperatures could rise by up to 8.1 C in some parts of the world.

The Guardian, 14 Feb 2003

worse than we thought – warming in the Arctic!

A new study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), released today, says that the effects of warming in the Arctic are “dire… far worse than previous projections.”

Dr Martin Sommerkorn, senior climate change advisor for WWF’s Arctic program (who works on this stuff everyday) says: “What they found was a truly sobering picture.” The report released by WWF today, Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications, is an “unprecedented peer-reviewed report.”

James Leape, director general of WWF International, says: “We need to listen now to these signals from the Arctic, and take the necessary action in Copenhagen this December to get a deal that quickly and effectively limits greenhouse gas emissions.”

Simply Green, undated article

but who wants a padded cell in their own home?

Dr John Pockett from the Barbara Hardy Institute suggests that you take time to adapt your house to climate change.

For home builders, have a refuge at the centre of the house, that has thicker walls, so heat will take longer to get through. The other major thing (that all home owners can do) is to have a lighter coloured roof, known as a cool roof.

Make it as light coloured as your council area will allow. A cool roof reflects sunlight (including ultraviolet and infrared rays) ensuring the surface will not get as hot during the summer, leading to less heat entering living spaces.

University of South Australia, 13 Jan 2015

scientific analysis

In the mid-1980s, more than 4,000 moose roamed the forests and bogs of northwestern Minnesota. Today, there are probably fewer than 100.

Mike Schrage, a wildlife biologist with the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, says researchers believe a warming climate might be causing moose to get sick.

“I do think global warming is having an impact on our moose,” said Schrage.

“I think it gets complicated between climate change and a dead moose. Because I don’t think I’m ever going to walk up to a moose carcass and be able to say, oh, it died of climate change. I think there’s a lot that happens in between.”

MPR News, 25 Mar 2008

if they can do it, why can’t we?


So why don’t we see advanced civilizations swarming across the Universe? One problem may be climate change. It is not that advanced civilizations always destroy themselves by over-heating their biospheres (although that is a possibility).

Instead, because stars become brighter as they age, most planets with an initially life-friendly climate will become uninhabitably hot long before intelligent life emerges. Other inhabited planets in the Universe must also have found ways to prevent global warming.

Watery worlds suitable for life will have climates that, like the Earth, are highly sensitive to changing circumstances.

The repeated canceling of star-induced warming by “geobiological” cooling, required to keep such planets habitable, will have needed many coincidences, and the vast majority of such planets will have run out of luck long before sentient beings evolved. However, the Universe is immense, and a few rare worlds will have had the necessary good fortune.

It may just be that Earth is one of those lucky planets—a precious, fragile jewel in space. So, perhaps inevitably, climate change will remain a bane of the continued existence of life on such planets. ars technica, 10 Jun 2014

time to turn over a new…

This month scientists will publish research that links a decline in the nutritional quality of leaves eaten by colobus monkeys in Uganda to changes in climate over the past 30 years.

“We know if we go out and measure leaves and find patches that have a lot of protein to fibre, that’s good territory for monkeys,” said Professor Raubenheimer, from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

“There are a number of experiments on plants showing that an increase in temperature and moisture has an impact on the fibre concentration. Females deprived of a balanced diet are less fertile and give birth to smaller young. The population birth rate is slowed, so you get a decline in population,” he said.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Sep 2014

last year’s model already out of date

The science used by the International Committee on Climate Change as the basis of the framework agreement in Bali in 2007 to hold the global warming increase to two degrees is already out of date.

There is now clear evidence that at less than one degree of warming we are already on the precipice of catastrophic climate change that will affect the whole world – from the lower Murray to the Great Barrier Reef, and the Himalayas to Siberia and the Arctic.

The Age (Australia), 26 Feb 2009 – screen copy held by this website

Comment – Merry Christmas!

Among other things, Christmas represents a new beginning.

This website hopes 2017 will, among other things, begin the reform in the area of climate change with the restoration of genuine science and the decline of politicised science.

Merry Christmas to all and particularly to the regular visitors to this website.

(c) Can Stock Photo / derocz

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normal posts continue below this message

ready, aim …

Atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen would like to save the world and darken your day. He proposes in this month’s journal Climatic Change that to screen ourselves from global warming, humans could use heavy artillery to lob huge explosive shells laden with sulphate particles high into the stratosphere.

A potent mix of pollutants would scatter the incoming sublight and bounce more sunbeams back into space. Bingo, you’d lower the rate of global warming and give the fossil-fuel industries more reason to push hydrocarbons. Sun Herald (Australia) 6 Aug 2006 – screencopy held by this website

just when you thought it was safe …

There have been seven shark attacks in North Carolina since June 11. This is already more than last year, when the state saw four attacks.

Although Frank J. Schwartz, a shark biologist with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says there’s too much natural variability in weather cycles to blame the recent shark attacks on global warming, George H. Burgess, the director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History. says the link is plausible.

“Clearly global climate change is a reality and it has resulted in warmer temperatures in certain places at certain times,” says Burgess. “As warming is expected to increase, it will likely bring more sharks farther north and entice more people to get into the water, which will lead to more bites.”

National Geographic, 29 Jun 2015

 

 

with friends like these…

Any number of people offer views on the politics of climate change. Few cut to the heart of the issue like Harvard don Daniel Gilbert.

“Scientists lament the fact that global warming is happening so fast. The fact is, it’s not happening fast enough,” he said in a speeech last year.

Gilbert does not believe climate change is slow, nor does he want to see the world slide quickly into environmental catastrophe.

But he has some understanding of why people with the capacity to act, including leaders in Canberra and elsewhere, appear hamstrung when faced with the enormity of the threat of climatic disaster.

A respected psychologist, he says part of the reason most people fail to get worked up about climte change is our sensitivity to change; if something moves dramatically overnight we are alert and possibly alarmed, but if it is a gradual shift averaged across the globe over decades, it is much harder to get angry.

The Age (Australia), 9 Mar 2009 – screen copy held by this website

the hanging gardens of Richmond

Christine Berry and Mike Morris were building a beautiful home in Richmond with a focus of getting as much sunlight into the house as possible. Just one problem.

“The site was blighted by a three-storey block of flats,” says Ms Berry.

How she and her architect husband solved the problem gives a visionary clue as to how the city of Melbourne will cope with climate change, the death of its trees and higher-density living.

They turned the rear wall of their courtyard into an eight-metre garden of native grasses and ferns. Sydney Morning Herald 30 Aug 2009 – image held by website

the appliances are taking over!

Your refrigerator could soon be helping to cool the planet as well as your food. A bar fridge built by the CSIRO has the ability to communicate with other refrigerators.

The applicances do not gossip about what kind of milk you have bought, but exchange data that could help balance energy usage acros the day and, ultimately, reduce the need for power stations, said a CSIRO research scientist, Geoff James.

Dr James said the same energy-levelling strategy could be applied to other home appliances that involve some discretion about when power is and is not used, such as water heaters and air-conditioners, the other big domestic power hogs.

Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2008 – screen copy held by this website

the idea that launched a thousand ships!

Another way to reflect more sunlight back into space is to increase reflectivity of the world’s marine clouds, which cover a quarter of the ocean’s surface.

John Latham and Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh have proposed wind-powered yachts that would spray seawater droplets into the air to produce more clouds.

Latham says that about a thousand of these vessels would be needed to make the plan effective, and that they should be deployed in the southern oceans, where most reflective marine stratocumulus clouds are.

But more testing is necessary to better understand the ecological and meteorological consequences. Open Knowledge, 10 Jul 2011

the incredible shrinking Christmas tree!

Mark Doggett, of Environment Victoria, says the key to a sustainable Christmas is to substitute “greener” alternatives into our celebrations.

And the best place to start might be with the greenest of all traditional symbols – the tree. The debate is about whether pine or plastic Christmas trees are better for the environment. According to Mr Doggett, the answer is neither.

“But there is no reason you can’t use a potted plant, which you can take outside after Christmas,” he says.

The Sunday age, 9 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – tropical forests ignited!

Without decisive action, global warming is likely to accelerate at a much faster pace and cause more environmental damage than predicted, says Stanford scientist Chris Field, a leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Field warns that higher temperatures could ignite tropical forests and melt the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gas that could raise temperatures even more — a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control.

Science Daily, 15 Feb 2009

speak for yourself!

The lesson is that if we continue with activities which destroy our environment and undermine the conditions for our own survival, we are the virus. Making the change needed to avoid that fate is perhaps the greatest challenge we have ever faced. (Michael Meacher is environment minister. This article is based on a lecture he will deliver today at Newcastle University)

The Guardian, 14/2/03

a butterfly’s wings flapping

At this week’s launch of a major report scrutinising the impact of corporate sustainability on a company’s earnings IAG chief executive Michael Hawker set out in no uncertain terms how small changes in the weather directly affect the cost of insurance premiums.

Over the past 140 years, the cost and frequency of insurance claims have been steadily rising in line with global temperatures, Mr Hawker said.

A 1 to 2.2 degrees celsius rise in temperatures can have a significant impact on the ferocity of natural disasters. There is a pattern; they are weather related, they are expensive and we pay for that in our [insurance] premiums, he said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Sep 2003

not fast & not furious

Women must stop admiring men who drive sports cars if they want to join the fight against global warming, the Government’s chief scientist has warned.

Professor Sir David King singled out women who find supercar drivers “sexy” adding that they should divert their affections to men who live more environmentally friendly lives.

”I was asked at a lecture by a young woman about what she could do and I told her to stop admiring young men in Ferraris,” he said. Daily Telegraph, 16 Dec 2007

house on stilts

Houses should be built on stilts to adapt to flooding caused by climate change, scientists have said. The Newcastle University study looked at the impact of predicted rises in temperature – particularly in urban areas.

“Houses built on stilts, flood resilient wiring where the sockets and wires are raised above flood level, and water resistant building materials are going to have to be incorporated into our building plans.” said Dr Richard Dawson, one of the report’s authors.
Daily Telegraph, 12 Oct 2009

smoke and ….

Eric Hu, from Melbourne’s Deakin University, said that while red house roofs absorbed heat from the sun, white ones would bounce energy back into space and “it will never come back”.

He also proposed painting roads white, and building giant mirrors in the outback. He said energy reflectors could be built in the desert using aluminium foil, “like you use in the kitchen”.

A climate change expert at the University of NSW, Andy Pitman, said Dr Hu’s ideas were “not stupid” but required more research to ensure there would be no unwanted side-effects. But better than reflecting energy would be to harness it using roof tiles with built-in solar cells.

Dr Pitman suspected white roads and roofs could inflict glare on motorists and said scientists would need to be sure heat reflected from outback mirrors did not interfere with the weather.

Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Mar 2007

worse than we thought – greenhouse gas levels!

Conservation scientist and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has warned that huge industrial and economic changes need to be implemented quickly to slow the growth of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Speaking on the ABC’s Lateline program, Professor Flannery has revealed the contents of a crucial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which will be released in November.

He says the report shows that greenhouse gas levels are at levels far higher than has ever been publicly admitted before.

yourdemocracy.net.au, 15 Nov 2007

no more bats

White ash has been the tree of choice for baseball bat manufacturers for decades, due to having the specific balance of weight and strength that you can’t get without resorting to aluminum bats.

Anyway, thanks to changing climates, ash forests are now facing not just a change in temperature which can affect the quality and flexibility of the wood, making them less ideal for bats, but also the ash borer beetle, a little son-of-a-bitch bug that really likes to eat trees.

The beetles are originally for Asia, but some say changing climate has allowed them to adapt nicely to North America, where in five years they managed to destroy 25 million trees.
Cracked, 17 Jan 2010

monsoons decrease

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We have presented evidence from observations that the equitorial Indian Ocean has warmed by about 0.6 to 0.8K during 1950 to 2002, accompanied by a dramatic weakening of the summertime SST gradient in the NIO.

In the model, the weakening of the meridional NIO_SST gradient leads to a large decrease in Indian rainfall during summer months, ranging form 2 to 3 mm per day. Reduction in the NIO_SST gradient basically weakens the model monsoonal circulation and shifts model rainfall from India to sub-Saharan Africa.

Chul Eddy Chung and V. Ramanthan, American Meteorological Society, Journal of Climate, Vol19 Issue 10 (May 2006)

monsoons increase

Despite weakening of the dynamical monsoon circulation, atmospheric buildup due to increased greenhouse gases and consequent temperature increase results in a larger moisture flux and more precipitation for the Indian monsoon. (Douville et al 2000, IPCC 2001, Ashrit et al 2003, Meehl and Arblaster 2003, May 2004, Ashrit et al 2005) IPCC: Climate Change 2007: Working Group 1: The Physical Science Basis 10.3.5.2 Monsoons
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surprise finding – air conditioning makes people cooler!

Global warming has been under way for at least 25 years, and there is strong evidence that it is largely man-made and is continuing.

In recent years, temperature and mortality data from several countries shows that cold-related deaths in each age group are falling in most countries. Much of that was due to rising climatic temperature and better home heating.

A surprising finding is that the heat-related mortality rate has stabilized or fallen, despite rising temperatures. Air conditioning has been a major factor in the United States.

Heat-related deaths there are lower among people with air conditioning. An extension of air conditioning was accompanied by the virtual disappearance of heat-related death in North Carolina, despite summers becoming hotter.

The Impact of Global Warming on Health and Mortality, W. R. Keatinge, MA, MB, BCHIR, PHD, FRCP; G. C. Donaldson, BA, PHD – Medscape 2004

the logic of climate change

Britain may be in the grip of the coldest winter for 30 years and grappling with up to a foot of snow in some places but the extreme weather is entirely consistent with global warming, claim scientists.

“Even though this is quite a cold winter by recent standards it is still perfectly consistent with predictions for global warming,” said Dr Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics group at Department of Physics, University of Oxford.

“If it wasn’t for global warming this cold snap would happen much more regularly. What is interesting is that we are now surprised by this kind of weather. I doubt we would have been in the 1950s because it was much more common.”

The Telegraph (UK), 3 Feb 2009

worse than we thought – acidity of Great Barrier Reef!

Waters around the Great Barrier Reef are becoming acidic at a higher-than-expected rate.

Professor Malcolm McCulloch of the Australian National University said the findings were worrying. It appears this acidification is now taking place over decades rather than centuries as originally predicted, he said.

Researchers studied a type of reef coral called porites off Cairns and found pH levels were falling faster than previously thought, meaning acidity levels were increasing. This new data on the Great Barrier Reef suggests the effects are even greater than forecast, Professor McCulloch said.

The Age (Australia), 18 Oct 2007

a stitch in time

Failing to fight global warming now will cost trillions of dollars by the end of the century even without counting biodiversity loss or unpredictable events like the Gulf Stream shutting down, a study said today.

But acting now will avoid some of the massive damage and cost relatively little, said the study commissioned by Friends of the Earth from the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University in the United States.

By contrast, spending just 1.6 trillion pounds (NZ$4.5 trillion) a year now to limit temperature rises to two degrees could avoid annual economic damage of around 6.4 trillion pounds, the Tufts report said.

Environmental Economics, 18 Oct 2006

apocalyptic scenario

If the North Atlantic Ocean’s circulation system is shut down — an apocalyptic global-warming scenario — the impact on the world’s food supplies would be disastrous, a study said Thursday.

The shutdown would cause global stocks of plankton, a vital early link in the food chain, to decline by a fifth while plankton stocks in the North Atlantic itself would shrink by more than half, it said.

“A massive decline of plankton stocks could have catastrophic effects on fisheries and human food supply in the affected regions,” warned the research, authored by Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State University.

Agence France-Presse, March 31, 2005

worse than we thought – climate challenge!

A book launched in Melbourne last night, Climate Code Red, argues that the climate change challenge is far worse than officially acknowledged by the Government or modeling undertaken by Government advisor Professor Ross Garnaut.

By economist David Spratt and Philip Sutton, the book warns that glaciologists are convinced the summer Arctic ice will disappear within five years, returning as only a thin layer during winter.

It says the question is not whether this can be stopped, but whether it can be reversed over coming decades to avoid sea level rises much worse than predicted by the comparatively conservative Nobel-prize-winning Intergovernmental Panal on Climate Change – probably between two and five metres.

The Age, (Australia), 18 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

time’s nearly up!

A major new report on global warming slated to be released Friday raises new fears that the earth’s climate is changing faster than anyone thought possible.

Today, 500 of the world’s top scientists are meeting behind closed doors to finish a landmark report on global warming, and the picture they paint is not pretty.

They say significant changes in the climate could start happening within the next 10 years.

“We’re hoping that it will convince people, you know, that climate change is real,” said Kenneth Denman, co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The report predicts an increase in heat waves, intense tropical storms and hurricanes, a sharp rise in sea level and continued melting of the world’s snow and glaciers.

abcnews, 30 Jan 2007

whales wither away

small_whale

Scientists on the US Pacific coast are increasingly observing emaciated gray whales in what they fear is a sign that global warming is wreaking havoc in the whales’ Bering Sea summer feeding grounds.

The gray whales are migrating later, not going as far north, and are producing fewer calves, Steven Swartz, head researcher with the National Marine Fisheries Service told AFP.

Swartz, who with his team meticulously photograph and identify the migrating whales, estimates that at least ten percent of the population is seriously skinny.

Instead of looking plump coming off the summer months, they have noticeable depressions behind the head, with scapulas visible through the skin, and concave sections above the tail, he added. “This is enough to cause alarm.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Jul 2007

scientist demonstrates he has too much spare time!

Humans may evolve bizarre features such as webbed feet and eyes like cats in response to changing environments, a scientist claims today.

Experts calculated how our physical appearance could change under a number of scenarios, including a ‘water world’ if melting ice caps cause rising sea levels.

To adapt to a ‘water world’, Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Kent, expects humans would develop webbed hands and eyes like those of cats to help us see in the poor lighting conditions underwater.

We would also retain a layer of baby fat into adulthood as an insulator for spending long periods submerged. Regular foraging in shallow waters could lead us to develop artificial ‘gills’ to help us breathe, extracting oxygen from the water and delivering it to the bloodstream.

This would also lead to our lung capacity becoming greatly reduced, and our rib cages shrinking.

The Daily Mail, 13 Jan 2016

worse than we thought – the tropics!

Climate change is causing the world’s tropical regions to grow, according to a new sientific paper that warns of a significant impact on southern Australia.

The report, a review of five recent studies, found the tropics had expanded by about 2.5 degrees latitude since 1979, faster than the clmate models predicted for the 21st century. Andrew Ash, director of the CSIRO’s climate adaptation flagship, described the rate of expansion of the tropics as “disturbing”.

“This paper is another bit of evidence showing that the rate of climate change is perhaps much faster than we have been expecting,” he said.

The Age (Australia), 3 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Arabidopsis thaliana on the move!

New research from the University of British Columbia suggests evolution is a driving mechanism behind plant migration, and that scientists may be underestimating how quickly species can move.

The study, published today in the journal Science, builds on previous research that has shown some plants and animals are moving farther north or to higher altitudes in an effort to escape rising global average temperatures due to climate change.

We know from previous research that evolution might play a role in how fast a species can move across a region or continent, said Jennifer Williams, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor in UBC’s department of geography.

“But what our study suggests is that evolution is not only a factor in movement, but that it can, in fact, accelerate the spread, and can do so predictably.”

For the study, researchers used a small flowering plant (Arabidopsis thaliana), a common model organism in plant biology, to test the role of evolution in plant migration. The findings suggest that evolution accelerates the speed of migration, said Williams.

Science Daily, 28 Jul 2016

cold water poured on artificial clouds!

A controversial proposal to create artificial white clouds over the ocean in order to reflect sunlight and counter global warming could make matters worse, scientists have warned.

The proposed scheme to create whiter clouds over the oceans by injecting salt spray into the air from a flotilla of sailing ships is one of the more serious proposals of researchers investigating the possibility of “geoengineering” the climate in order to combat global warming.

However, a study into the effects of creating man-made clouds which reflect sunlight and heat back into space has found that the strategy could end up having the opposite effect by interfering with the natural processes that lead to the formation of reflective white clouds over the ocean.

Our research suggests that attempts to generate brighter clouds via sea spray geoengineering would at best have only a tiny effect and could actually cause some clouds to become less bright, said Professor Ken Carslaw of the University of Leeds.

Heat Is Online – originally The Independent 7 Jun 2010

canary in the coalmine – an octopus in the garage!

Octopus in the parking garage is climate change’s canary in the coal mine.

Photos of an octopus splayed out in a flooded Miami Beach parking garage have been floating around the internet all week, prompting some skeptics to call “bogus” on both the discovery of the eight-legged creature out of its element and the force blamed for its appearance — climate change.

Both appear to be all too real. University of Miami associate biology professor Kathleen Sullivan Sealey examined the photos and identified the octopus as likely one of two species common in South Florida waters.

And she said Miami Beach residents ought to get used to seeing strange new creatures making sporadic appearances as rising sea levels push ocean waters deeper and more frequently onto land, along with some of the creatures that live in them.

Miami Herald, 18 Nov 2016

thanks to David Mulberry

pull up the moat!

castle

Climate change will lead to a “fortress world” in which the rich lock themselves away in gated communities and the poor must fend for themselves in shattered environments, unless governments act quickly to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to the vice-president of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).

Mohan Munasinghe was giving a lecture at Cambridge University in which he presented a dystopic possible future world in which social problems are made much worse by the environmental consequences of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The scenario, which he termed “barbarisation” was already beginning to happen, he said. “Fortress world is a situation where the rich live in enclaves, protected, and the poor live outside in unsustainable conditions.”

“If you see what is going on in some of the gated communities in some countries you do find that rich people live in those kind of protected environments. If you see the restrictions on international travel you see the beginnings of the fortress world syndrome even in entering and leaving countries,” he said.

The Guardian, 15/5/08

clouded thinking

Stephen Salter, professor of engineering design at the University Edinburgh, and Professor John Latham, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, have been using Salt Flares to test if it is possible to seed or even create Marine Stratocumulus Clouds.

The flares will spray up salt water into the clouds. When the particles rise into a cloud they redistribute the moisture, increasing its reflectivity. As a result the cloud bounces more sunlight back into space.

Approximately 300 flares will be released at sea level from a boat moored off the South African coast. Prof Latham added: “We’ve got the most massive global problem that we’ve ever had, so we’ve got to think big.”

The Telegraph, 19 Feb 2009

worse than we thought – atmospheric concentration of CO2!

jaw_droppingThe MIT Integrated Global System Model is used to make probabilistic projections of climate change from 1861 to 2100.

Since the model’s first projections were published in 2003 substantial improvements have been made to the model and improved estimates of the probability distributions of uncertain input parameters have become available.

The new projections are considerably warmer than the 2003 projections, e.g., the median surface warming in 2091 to 2100 is 5.1°C compared to 2.4°C in the earlier study.

Their median projection for the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2095 is a jaw-dropping 866 ppm. ClimateProgress, 23 Feb 2009

bombshell report

bombshell_report

Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say. Global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, according to a devastating new study which predicts that one-third of its trees will be killed by even modest temperature rises.

Tim Lenton, a climate expert at the University of East Anglia, called the study, presented at a global warming conference in Copenhagen today , a “bombshell”.

He said: “When I was young I thought chopping down the trees would destroy the forest but now it seems that climate change will deliver the killer blow.”

The Guardian, 12 Mar 2009

all bad news

As floods once again hit parts of the UK, experts warn the incidence of gales and floods could increase over the next 50 years, when they predict temperatures will rise by up to two degrees centigrade. Experts even warn that malaria could return to large parts of the UK.

They say the climate change could cause an extra 5,000 deaths from skin cancer every year – and 2,000 from heatwaves. The report published on Friday, by the Expert Group on Climate Change on Health, predicts more intense summer heatwaves, and an increased risk of winter floods and severe gales.

BBC News, 9 Feb 2001

attack of the cannibalistic lobsters!

lobsterThe waters off the coast of Maine are overflowing with lobsters, which, according to Mother Jones, is actually a bad thing.

Two main factors are causing the lobster population to explode. 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. The Week, 24 Jul 2013

worse than we thought – the measures of climate change!

Climate experts are increasingly worried though. More than 2000 will meet in Copenhagen this week for an emergency summit to emphasise that the shift is happening much faster than expected.

Hosted by the University of Copenhagen, the climate congress has two main goals – to update the science since the 2007 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and to develop and promote policy solutions.

The key findings will be transformed in a new and improved report to lobby leaders in the run-up to a critical UN conference in December, when a new Kyoto-stye agreement is to be signed.

UNSW Climate Change Research Centre co-director Matthew England, one of the summit’s key backers, says it is likely to find that the raw measures of climate change – global average air temperature, global sea-level rise and amospheric carbon dioxide concentrations – are all happening at or above the worst-case IPCC scenario.

The Age (Australia), 9 Mar 2009 – screencopy held by this website

emotional maelstrom!

“How climate change makes me feel. I feel a maelstrom of emotions. I am exasperated. Exasperated no one is listening. I am frustrated. Frustrated we are not solving the problem. I am anxious.

Anxious that we start acting now. I am perplexed. Perplexed that the urgency is not appreciated. I am dumbfounded. Dumbfounded by our inaction. I am distressed. Distressed we are changing our planet.

I am upset. Upset for what our inaction will mean for all life. I am annoyed. Annoyed with the media’s portrayal of the science.

I am angry. Angry that vested interests bias the debate. I am infuriated. Infuriated we are destroying our planet. But most of all I am apprehensive. Apprehensive about our children’s future.”

– Associate Professor Anthony J. Richardson Climate Change Ecologist The University of Queensland –

Is This How You Feel? Website – How scientists feel

solution to climate change – write more articles!

“I feel confident that we WILL reduce emissions to slow global warming to a pace to which we can (mostly) adapt.

Why am I so confident? Firstly, because in 2015, more than 1.5% of all articles in the New York Times mentioned “climate change”. This compares with 2% of articles that mentioned “terrorism” and 1.4% that mentioned “refugees”.

As in other countries, the media profile of “climate change” is now very strong – politicians and the public see reports about our changing climate almost daily. Secondly, in 2015 over 15,000 scholarly papers were published with the topic of “climate “change”, “greenhouse effect”, or “global warming” as the topic.

In 1988, the year the IPCC was established, only 68 scholarly articles published on these topics. With such strong and growing media and expert interest, how can we fail?”

– Neville Nicholls Professor Emeritus, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment Monash University, Australia –

Is This How You Feel? Website – How scientists feel

invasion – brain eating amoeba!

A deadly “brain-eating” amoeba that lives in freshwater sources may be surviving in more northern areas of the United States thanks to climate change, health experts suggest.

The amoeba normally lives in warmer waters in the southern United States.

But since climate change is generally making summers hotter, the amoeba now seems to be in northern waters, said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious diseases specialist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

“Climate change may be playing a role,” he said.

Health Day, 24 Jul 2015

worse than we thought – too hot for coral!

“The oceans are becoming too hot for coral, and sooner than we expected…..The problem is, I was only accounting for a doubling of greenhouse gases, as opposed to the tripling or more under the current business-as-usual approach, and the models used for estimating future sea temperatures didn’t account for more frequent extreme El Niño.

And if so, then my original projections of when the oceans become too hot for coral reefs are too optimistic!…..I am compelled to question whether the negotiators headed for meeting in Paris in a month or so really appreciate the urgency.

Do they know that we need to pull the plug immediately on this crazy experiment? Given that the current pledges going into Paris are so woefully inadequate, it would seem not.”

– Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director, Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland –

The Conversation, 9 Oct 2015

discovery – correlation and causation both start with the same letter!

“How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today – which is what we expect later this century – sea levels were 25m higher.

So that is what we can look forward to if we don’t act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this.

But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes. I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself.” – Jim Hansen –

The Independent, 17 Feb 2006

worse than we thought – impact on birds!

Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about the fate of the huge boreal forest that spans from Scandinavia to northern Canada. Unprecedented warming in the region is jeopardizing the future of a critical ecosystem that makes up nearly a third of the earth’s forest cover.

The boreal is also home to some 5 billion birds. Many species have shifted their ranges north.

“Climate change is having an impact much more quickly than we thought,” said Jeff Wells, a senior scientist with the International Boreal Campaign who focuses on birds. “Shifts that researchers thought would take place over 50 or a hundred years have taken place over a decade.”

Yale Environment 360, 12 Oct 2015

early opener

“We’re seeing the early signs of climate warming here,” said climatologist Dan Cayan of the Scripps Institution in San Diego, assessing California’s vulnerability. “We’re very worried about climate warming.”

“The warming attacks in different ways. Blossoms may open weeks too soon, before insects arrive to pollinate them, and fruit trees may produce weaker crops because there are fewer cool nights, which the trees need for recovering between harvests.”

ABCnews, 5 Aug 2006

magpies warbling and swooping earlier!

Are Australian magpies warbling and swooping earlier than ever before? Probably.

Is the invasive Asian house gecko making its way south from Darwin? Possibly.

Is Nemo, the clown fish, partying off the coast of Sydney all year round instead of returning to tropical waters in winter? Scientists think so.

More than 60,000 observations made by Australian citizen scientists are feeding answers to these questions and hundreds more into a database run by ClimateWatch, which is run by the Smithsonian Institution’s Earthwatch Institute.

Since 2009, 13,000 citizen scientists have registered to make observations on ClimateWatch’s app and website. Their records of 185 species of plants and animals are starting to flower and bear fruit, albeit unripened.

ClimateWatch’s program manager Linden Ashcroft said the species were chosen for their susceptibility to changes in rain and temperature. They may flower or start breeding earlier, change migrating patterns or move to different habitats to seek the right temperatures and conditions for their species. They are also common and easy to identify.

“People notice this stuff in their day-to-day life,” Dr Ashcroft said. “They think, ‘That tree flowered earlier’ or, ‘That bird I haven’t seen it before’, but now they are realising how important that information is,” she said.

The Age, 9 Aug 2014

here be monsters!

squid_sailing_shipWe often hear about all of the different creatures out there negatively affected by climate change and global warming.

However, there are actually some including the squid which seem to benefit from it. For example their bodies are able to process food easier when the water is warmer.

As a result the squid will grow to be larger than otherwise.

This is going to be significant in their ability to survive overall out there against predators. The smaller a squid is the more likely it will be consumed. This can lead to more squid due to them becoming mature and having offspring before they become food for something else.
Squid World

worse than we thought – CO2 release from peat!

Climate change effect on release of CO2 from peat far greater than assumed.

Writing in Nature Geosciences (doi 10.1038 NGEO1323), Dr Nathalie Fenner and Professor Chris Freeman of Bangor University explain how the drought causes an increase in the rate of release of CO2 for possibly as long as a decade.

It was originally assumed that most of the CO2 was released from the dry peat. Now scientists realise that the release of CO2 continues, and may even increase, when the peat is re-wetted with the arrival of rain.

“As our global climate and rainfall patterns change, our peatlands may not have sufficient opportunity to recover between these drought-induced episodes of CO2 loss,” explains the paper’s lead author, Dr Nathalie Fenner.

Bangor News, 21/11/11