don’t let the grass grow under your feet!

Global warming could rapidly threaten grasses, including wild relatives of staple foods such as wheat and rice that provide half of all the calories consumed by humans.

A new study looking ahead to 2070 found that climate change was occurring thousands of times faster than the ability of wild grasses to adapt. While the research cannot predict what might happen to world food supplies as a result, the authors warn of “troubling implications”.

“We show that past rates of climatic niche change in grasses are much slower than rates of future projected climate change, suggesting that extinctions might occur in many species and/or local populations,” wrote the researchers, led by John Wiens, from the University of Arizona in the US.

“This has several troubling implications, for both global biodiversity and human welfare.”

New Scientist, 28 September 2016

thanks to ddh

waiting with bated ……

Don’t panic, but researchers have discovered that oxygen is (very) slowly draining out of Earth’s atmosphere, and right now, they’re not sure why.

By analysing air bubbles trapped inside ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, a team from Princeton University has found oxygen levels have dropped by 0.7 percent in the last 800,000 years, and figuring out why could be crucial to predicting our planet’s future.

As far as ecosystems on Earth are concerned, the drop is only a trivial one, but it can still tell us more about the secrets of what makes a planet habitable – useful information to have if we’re ever going to live on Mars

….Another possible cause is long-term climate change – over the last few million years, we’ve seen a slight overall drop in global temperatures, even though Earth has been rapidly heating up over the past half a century.

Science Alert, 23 Sep 2016

thanks to ddh

climate change turns fish into lemmings!

Continued exposure to carbon dioxide seriously compromises the safety of small reef fish, with research showing they lose their survival instincts and become vulnerable to predators as seawater becomes more acidic.

The study by Australian and American scientists, conducted in naturally occurring carbon dioxide seeps in Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay, found an acidic environment made reef fish become attracted to the smell of their predators.

Results showed that more than 90 per cent of the time, fish in these waters swam into areas where predators were. Fish studied in non-acidified water consistently avoided areas with predators.

The work by scientists from the institute, James Cook University and the Georgia Institute of Technology is in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday.

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Apr 2014

worse than we thought – potency of heroin!

Greater concentrations of carbon dioxide in a warming world may have a drastic effect on the potency of opium poppies, according to a new study.

While this increase might mean more morphine available for legal pharmaceutical uses, the painkiller is also the main ingredient in heroin.

The speed of the biological changes affecting plants’ alkaloid levels suggests that the climate may have a greater impact on plant life than computer models had generally predicted, Ziska says Lewis Ziska of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory.

The net result, according to Ziska, is that climate change’s impacts on plants are likely to be chaotic and difficult to predict. For example, he says, “wheat may make more seeds, but we may have stronger poison ivy and poppies.”

Science Line, 3 Aug 2009

Call to action!

Considering that climate change represents a real threat to the existence of humanity, of living beings and our Mother Earth as we know it today,

Confident that the peoples of the world, guided by the principles of solidarity, justice and respect for life, will be able to save humanity and Mother Earth,

and Celebrating the International Day of Mother Earth,

The Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia calls on the peoples of the world, social movements and Mother Earth’s defenders, and invites scientists, academics, lawyers and governments that want to work with their citizens to the Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights to be held from 20th to 22nd April 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Bolivia, January 5th, 2010 – CounterCurrents.org

worse than we thought – the absorptive capacity of the planet!

GEORGE NEGUS: You originally said that unless we invest in something like 1% of global GDP per annum fighting climate change it could ultimately cost us up to 20% of global GDP. Now in your new work you are calling for an investment of 2%. Does that mean the situation is worsening?

LORD NICHOLAS STERN: I raised the number because I think, looking back, the targets that were proposed in the Stern Review were not ambitious enough, given the kinds of risk which we’re now seeing. The risks are actually still worse than we saw in the Stern Review because greenhouse gases are growing faster than we assumed, the absorptive capacity of the planet – particular the oceans – to absorb greenhouse gases is less than we thought, and some of the effects – for example, Greenland ice melting – are coming through faster than we thought.

interview SBS, 15 Nov 2009

It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

“It is predicted there will be more and more incidents of severe clear-air turbulence, which typically comes out of the blue with no warning, occurring in the near future as climate change takes its effect in the stratosphere,” Dr Paul Williams, a Royal Society research fellow at Reading University, said last week.

“There has already been a steady rise in incidents of severe turbulence affecting flights over the past few decades. Globally, turbulence causes dozens of fatalities a year on small private planes and hundreds of injuries to passengers in big jets. And as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere keep on rising, so will the numbers of incidents.”

The Guardian, 11 Sep 2016

worse than we thought – carbon dioxide concentrations!

Research news about climate change and its expected effects has, if anything, become more alarming since the 2001 IPCC report which projected possible temperature increases by 2100 of up to 5.8 degrees Celcius (IPCC 2001).

For example, two different studies from the UK Hadley Centre have suggested that increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere may lead to higher temperature rises than those reported in IPCC’s work (Clarke 2003; Murphy et al 2004).

In addition, there are concerns that the effects of climate change are beginning to be seen before scientists had expected, and even that positive feedbacks in the climate system, which could accelerate global warming are starting to be detected (Vidal 2004).

CARBON RATIONING AND PERSONAL ENERGY USE, Tina Fawcet, Fawcett, T. 2004 Carbon rationing and personal energy use. Energy and Environment. 15(6) pp 1067-1083

news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

Save the Buckeye!

Environmentalists said Friday that climate change might push the growing range of Ohio’s iconic buckeye tree out of the state, leaving it for archrival Michigan.

Save The Buckeye, a coalition of environmental activists and outdoor enthusiasts, has a billboard in Columbus warning about the fate of the buckeye tree, and backers plan to hold rallies during football tailgating events.

People had thought of global warming as something far away, affecting polar bears, said Tom Bullock, an advocate for the Pew Environment Group in Ohio.

“If we don’t get started now we will reduce the opportunity to reduce global warming and curb its worst effects.”

Fox News, 15 Sep 2008

worse than we thought – small islands swallowed!

Low-lying island atolls—which are home to half a million people around the world—are some of the places most immediately threatened by rising sea levels.

Now an unsettling new study from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that these vulnerable places could disappear at rates almost double what scientists had previously realized.

It appears that many atoll islands will be flooded annually, salinizing the limited freshwater resources and thus likely forcing inhabitants to abandon their islands in decades, not centuries, as previously thought, the paper, published in Nature Scientific Reports, says.

CoExist, 13 Oct 2015

seemed like a good idea at the time

As the United States moves toward taking action on global warming, practical experience with carbon markets in the European Union raises a critical question: Will such systems ever work?

Europeans took an early lead in efforts to curb global warming, championing the Kyoto Protocol and imposing a market-based system in 2005 to cap emissions from about 12,000 factories producing electricity, glass, steel, cement, pulp and paper.

Companies buy or sell permits based on whether they overshoot or come in beneath their pollution goals. European Union officials acknowledge that establishing such a vast market has been more complicated than they expected.

“Of course it was ambitious to set up a market for something you can’t see and to expect to see immediate changes in behavior,” said Jacqueline McGlade, the executive director of the European Environment Agency. “It’s easy, with hindsight, to say we could have been tougher.”

A major stumbling block arose at the outset, when some participating governments allocated too many trading permits to polluters when the market was created. That led to a near-market failure after the value of the permits fell by half, and called into question the validity of the system.

Heat Is Online – originally The New York Times, June 20, 2008

what do you say to a polar bear?

bear_wavingBut today’s emerging solution to eco-anxiety is ecotherapy.

The science originated among the New Agers of the USA, like Santa Fe-based therapist Melissa Pickett, who describes herself as “a student of evolutionary inquiry, a visionary and a change agent”.

“Eco-anxiety is caused by our disconnection from nature. People tell me how an article about the polar bears losing their habitat was making them ill,” she says.

“So I place a photograph of a polar bear into the patients’ hands and encourage them to have an imaginary conversation with him as a way to ease their despair.”

She also advises we carry rocks in our pockets to remind us of our connection with the Earth and buy one of her “sacred matrices” (yours for $10 each).

The Independent, 20 Mar 2008

see also – action plan

worse than we thought – worlds oceans!

A group of 17 scientists with varied backgrounds, including noted climatologist James Hansen has written a paper describing a scenario where the world’s oceans rise much faster than other models have predicted—they have uploaded it to Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics—an open access site created to allow for public peer review of researcher ideas.

The authors argue that such a rise will result in much faster ice melting than other models have suggested, resulting in a rise of the world’s oceans to dangerous levels…….

The researchers are hoping their work will cause more than just a change in the standards that have been set—that it might also wake the human race to the cataclysmic changes that really are coming and cause us to change our ways before it is too late—if it is not already.

Phys Org, 24/07/2015

grapes in Margaret River mature early

………………………………….

Predicted rising temperatures in the Margaret River region in the next few years are expected to have a significant impact on the quality of wine grapes, with early maturity an increasing concern.

Curtin University associate professor Mark Gibberd said a new study of WA’s wine regions showed a “demonstrable” change in grape maturation. AHA Viticulture senior consultant Jim Campbell-Clause said rising temperatures for the past eight years had made earlier vintages “pretty well the norm”. The trend is a warming trend, he said.

West Australian Regional, 27 Jan 2015

grapes in Margaret River don’t mature early

Dr Leanne Webb from CSIRO and her team have now analysed decades of records from wine-growing regions across southern Australia. They combined this with temperature data from the Bureau of Meteorology, modelling of soil moisture and records of crop yields from the winegrowers.

They found that early grape maturation had occurred in all the vineyards except Margaret River in Western Australia, which had actually dropped back by about half a day per decade.The researchers say the study will help wineries develop strategies to deal with climate change.

ABC (Australia) Science, 27 Feb 2012

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surprise finding – the carbon market is being rorted!

Europe’s greenhouse gas market has shown that investments by rich countries into clean-energy projects in poor nations are not always the best way to cut emissions blamed for global warming, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress reported.

In the European Union’s greenhouse gas market, the world’s largest, many polluters have sought to meet government-imposed emissions limits by investing in projects through the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism.

The mechanism allows polluters in rich countries to claim credits back home by investing in projects such as hydropower in Brazil or destruction of refrigerant gases in China.

Such projects are called carbon offsets by players in the $100 billion carbon market because they aim to reduce a polluter’s carbon footprint by cutting emissions elsewhere.

Some offset credits were awarded for projects that would have occurred even in the absence of the CDM, despite a rigorous screening process, the report said.

Heat Is Online – The Guardian (U.K.), Dec. 2, 2008

worse than we thought – animal life!

Climate change is happening far faster than predicted, and it’s causing a huge decline in animal life, according to a recent report released by Boston-based asset management firm Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO).

The total amount of animal life on Earth has halved in the last 35 years, and bird populations have decreased by 40%, a recent report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates.

Animal populations plummeted by 52% between 1970 and 2010, according to the WWF’s Living Planet Index, which is calculated using trends in 10,380 populations of over 3,038 vertebrate species (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals).

Birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals have all seen some of their populations decline over the past few decades.

Business Insider (Australia), 6 Aug 2015

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

Urgent warning!

As the heat increases,our lakes and rivers will dry up to a great extent, and will contain hardly any water except during the rainy season, when they will be temporarily swelled to enormous proportions.

We shall have earthquakes of great size and strength, and hitherto peaceful mountains, finding that they re in tropical regions, will break out as volcanoes….

The heat will be so great that, except in the extreme northern and southern parts of the continent, the people of the United States will lose their energy and become as lazy and listless as are now the people of Panama.

They will spend their time lying in hammocks and will take little interest in politics, although from time to time they may arouse theselves sufficiently to indulge in a brief revolution after the present South American pattern.

New York Times, 19 Nov 1881 (warming caused by tilting of the Earth’s axis)

thanks to Mervyn

calling all climate crusaders – cool it!

Exacerbating the problem are the piles of research telling climate crusaders to lay off the apocalyptic rhetoric, meaning that, in order to be effective communicators, experts must often stifle their most dire predictions.

The problem is that climate change threatens feelings of self-efficacy — the sense that we can control our destiny. This is precisely why social scientists urge communicators not to overburden the public with catastrophic predictions about the future, because doing so can inspire fatalism.

Think Progress, 16 Sep 2015

pied flycatcher lays an egg!

Many British birds are laying their eggs earlier in the year as a result of climate change, a report by conservation groups claimed yesterday.

The report said birds were being forced to rapidly adapt their behaviour in order to survive, including altering their nesting and migration patterns and travelling further to find food.

Work carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) surveying 30,000 nests showed species such as the chaffinch and robin are laying their eggs about a week earlier than they did during the 1960s.

Matt Murphy, ornithologist for the Countryside Council for Wales, said climate change was affecting the breeding patterns of pied flycatchers living in Welsh oak woodlands.

heraldscotland, 15 Aug 2008

worse than we thought – by just about any measure!

As climate change exceeds the worst projections, scientists underscore the urgency of reducing emissions.

By just about any measure, global warming is matching or exceeding experts’ worst projections, and could bring drastic change to our planet, including a 19-foot sea level rise and the extinction of many species, according to a new report released today.

We are in the lead-up to an historic climate summit — the Copenhagen climate summit — and it is absolutely essential that any policy making regarding climate change be based on the best and most up-to-date science, said co-author Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University in State College.

Discovery.com, 11 Feb 2013

hurricanese increase in intensity

………………………………….

The number of very intense hurricanes striking the east coast of North America and the Caribbean could increase over the next century if ocean temperatures continue to rise. The total number of storms, however, is set to fall.

That is according to researchers in the US who have applied a popular model for forecasting cyclone activity to a series of climate projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

physicsworld.com, 29 Jan 2010

hurricanes decrease in intensity

Global warming could increase a climate phenomenon known as wind shear that inhibits Atlantic hurricanes, a potentially positive result of climate change, according to new research released on Tuesday.

The study, to be published on Wednesday in Geophysical Research Letters, found that climate model simulations show a “robust increase” in wind shear in the tropical Atlantic during the 21st century from global warming.

Wind shear, a difference in wind speed or direction at different altitudes, tends to tear apart tropical cyclones, preventing nascent ones from growing and already-formed hurricanes from becoming the monster storms that cause the most damage.

planetark.com, 18 Apr 2007
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the ups and downs of dengue transmission

Dengue is the world’s most prevalent mosquito-borne disease, with more than 200 million people each year becoming infected. We used a mechanistic virus transmission model to determine whether climate warming would change dengue transmission in Australia….

Using the ECHAM5 model, decreased dengue transmission was predicted under the A2 carbon emission scenario, whereas some increases are likely under the B1 scenario. Dengue epidemic potential may decrease under climate warming due to mosquito breeding sites becoming drier and mosquito survivorship declining.

These results contradict most previous studies that use correlative models to show increased dengue transmission under climate warming….

It is therefore naive to assume a simple relationship between climate and incidence, and incorrect to state that climate warming will uniformly increase dengue transmission, although in general the health impacts of climate change will be negative.

WILLIAMS, C.R., MINCHAM, G., FADDY, H., VIENNET, E., RITCHIE, S.A. and HARLEY, D. (2016) ‘Projections of increased and decreased dengue incidence under climate change’, Epidemiology and Infection, , pp. 1–10.

thanks to ddh

Bittern boom busted!

Rising sea could end the bittern boom. One of Britain’s rarest birds whose numbers climbed back from near extinction a decade ago faces a new threat from the sea.

Speaking at a conference at the Potteric Carr Nature Reserve in South Yorkshire, Dr Mark Avery, RSPB conservation director, said the Bittern population relied on breeding grounds such as the Minsmere Reserve along the Suffolk coast.

A substantial area of new reed bed will urgently need to be created away from the coast, and the threat of climate change-driven, sea level rise, he said. BBC News, 4 Mar 2008

worse than we thought – potential damages!

Sir Nicholas Stern, the author of the world’s most comprehensive study of the economic impact of climate change, says fresh research into the planet’s carbon sink suggests his report probably underestimated the potential dmages.

New research indicated a weakening of the so-called carbon cycle, in particular the ability of the planet’s oceans to absorb carbon dioxide, Sir Nicholas said. And the risks threatening forests, another type of carbon sink, “are stronger than we thought”, he said. “So I think we are seeing early signs that some risks are bigger than the ones we included.”

The Age, 28 Mar 2007 – screen copy held by this website

calling all Earthlings!

“We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion. We need to eliminate nationalism and tribalism and become Earthlings.

And as Earthlings, we need to recognize that all the other species that live on this planet are also fellow citizens and also Earthlings.

This is a planet of incredible diversity of life-forms; it is not a planet of one species as many of us believe. We need to stop burning fossil fuels and utilize only wind, water, and solar power with all generation of power coming from individual or small community units like windmills, waterwheels, and solar panels.

Sea transportation should be by sail. The big clippers were the finest ships ever built and sufficient to our needs. Air transportation should be by solar powered blimps when air transportation is necessary.”

seashepherd.org, May 4, 2007, Commentary by Paul Watson,Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

worse than we thought – global warming acceleration!

Without decisive action, global warming in the 21st century is likely to accelerate at a much faster pace and cause more environmental damage than predicted, according to a leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing countries, like China and India, saw a huge upsurge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal,” said IPCC scientist Chris Field of Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Stanford News, 18 Feb 2009

green plans in the red!

The cost of efforts to avoid dangerous global warming may be 170 percent higher than 2007 estimates, a report for the UN’s climate agency said on Thursday.

The report comes four days before the UN leads a fresh round of talks in Poland to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol in ongoing negotiations marred by squabbles over who should bear the cost of fighting climate change.

The UN report cited research by the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy adviser to 28 countries, and others which showed growing capital costs especially in the energy sector.

The increased investment needed is entirely due to higher capital costs for energy supply facilities, it said.

Heat Is Online – Planetark.org, Nov. 28, 2008

worse than we thought – destruction of sea life!

Rising acid levels in the Southern Ocean will start destroying sea life within 30 years, three decades earlier than previously thought, Australian climate change researchers warned yesterday.

Scientists had previously predicted that when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 550 parts per million – compared with about 383 parts per million today – the oceans would become so acidic that the calcium in the shells of sea creatures would start dissolving. However, it was thought it would take 60 to 100 years for such a “tipping point” to be reached.

But new findings by Ben McNeil, of the University of NSW, and the CSIRO’s Dr Richard Matear, suggest rising acidity may trigger “irreversible” destruction of shell creatures far sooner.

Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Nov 2008

You left out – do you hire Windows users or Apple users?

The New York Times is a leader in covering climate change. Now The Times is ramping up its coverage to make the most important story in the world even more relevant, urgent and accessible to a huge audience around the globe. We are looking for an editor to lead this dynamic new group.

We want someone with an entrepreneurial streak who is obsessed with finding new ways to connect with readers and new ways to tell this vital story.


The New York Times is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of an individual’s sex, age, race, color, creed, national origin, alienage, religion, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation or affectional preference, gender identity and expression, disability, genetic trait or predisposition, carrier status, citizenship, veteran or military status and other personal characteristics protected by law.

New York Times

thanks to ddh

worse than we thought – carbon emissions!

stunned_crowdThe cream of the UK climate science community sat in stunned silence as a scientist pointed out that carbon emissions since 2000 have risen much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the coal-fuelled economic boom in the developing world.

So much extra pollution is being pumped out that most of the climate targets debated by politicians and campaigners are fanciful at best, and “dangerously misguided” at worst, said Kevin Anderson, an expert at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at Manchester University. The Guardian, 9 Dec 2008

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

use less stuff!

 

TED TURNER: Not doing it will be catastrophic. We’ll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals. Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state — like Somalia or Sudan — and living conditions will be intolerable.

The droughts will be so bad there’ll be no more corn grown. Not doing it is suicide. Just like dropping bombs on each other, nuclear weapons is suicide. We’ve got to stop doing the suicidal two things, which are hanging on to our nuclear weapons and after that we’ve got to stabilize the population. When I was born-

CHARLIE ROSE: So what’s wrong with the population?

TURNER: We’re too many people. That’s why we have global warming. We have global warming because too many people are using too much stuff. If there were less people, they’d be using less stuff.

did we miss anyone?

Climate change will expose more people – in less likely areas than previous – to wildfires, drought, hurricanes and flooding. The weather ambushes lead to increasing cases of PTSD.

Those at particular risk to mental health damage from the effects of global warming include:

  • – People displaced by extreme weather events
  • – Low income individuals with limited access to care
  • – Limited English proficiency individuals who may not comprehend public service campaigns
  • – Immigrant groups that may have not previously had adequate mental or physical health to withstand environmental damages
  • – Indigenous peoples who may remain on sovereign land whose infrastructures are not up kept by the government
  • – Children
  • – Homeless
  • – Pregnant Women
  • – Elders
  • – Persons with disabilities
  • – Outdoor 0ccupational groups
  • – Persons with pre-existing or chronic medical conditions.
Sovereign Health Group, 7th May 2016, About the author – “Sovereign Health Group staff writer Kristin Currin-Sheehan is a mindful spirit swimming in metaphysical pools with faith as her compass.”

worse than we thought – plants flowering!

Scientific models are failing to accurately predict the impact of global warming on plants, says a new report. Researchers found in long-term studies that some are flowering up to eight times faster than models anticipate.

The authors say that poor study design and a lack of investment in experiments partly account for the difference.

“If a whole plant community starts growing a week earlier than we expect according to these experiments, it’s going to take up a lot more water over the growing season and if you add to that many years of the model projections, you are going to see big changes in the water supply,” said Dr Elizabeth Wolkovich, who is now at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

stop the krill from being …..

Almost half of Antarctic krill offspring would struggle to survive in vast regions of the Southern Ocean’s increasingly acidic waters by the end of the century if carbon emissions continue unchecked, climate study projections show.

If such conditions continued, researchers at the Australian Antarctic Division predict krill populations could be wiped out by 2300. “Up to a third of all carbon dioxide that humans produce each year dissolves into the sea,” said Marine biologist Rob King.

Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Jul 2013

worse than we thought – speed of climate change!

The conference at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Exeter, called by Tony Blair to inform world leaders about the urgency of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, was told of a series of new research findings which showed that climate change was speeding up and would be worse than hitherto expected.David Griggs, director of the centre, said the meeting was “an ideal opportunity for the scientific community to identify emission levels, especially of carbon dioxide, at which the Earth’s climate could be thrown into irreversible change.”

Only five years ago the scientists on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were confident that Antarctica and its vast ice sheets were so cold that they would not begin to melt for centuries even if climate changed elsewhere.

Science Direct, Current Biology: Volume 15, Issue 4, 22 February 2005, Pages R109–R110

Zebra finches read IPCC reports!

bird_reading
Scientists have long worried whether animals can respond to the planet’s changing climate. Now, a new study reports that at least one species of songbird—and likely many more—already knows how to prep its chicks for a warming world. They do so by emitting special calls to the embryos inside their eggs, which can hear and learn external sounds.

The idea that the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) parents were “talking to their eggs” occurred to Mylene Mariette, a behavioral ecologist at Deakin University in Waurn Ponds, Australia, while recording the birds’ sounds at an outdoor aviary. She noticed that sometimes when a parent was alone, it would make a rapid, high-pitched series of calls while sitting on the eggs.

She found that parents of both sexes uttered these calls only during the end of the incubation period and when the maximum daily temperature rose above 26°C (78.8°F). Mariette thinks the finches’ ability to prepare their offspring for their future environment makes sense because they live in arid habitats and they breed whenever conditions are good—irrespective of the season.

She adds that these finches show that some animals, at least, aren’t just sitting ducks when it comes to climate change—they may be much better able to adapt to a warming world than we thought.

Science mag, 18 Aug 2016

thanks to ddh

worse than we thought – global food production!

The impact of climate change on global crop production is likely to be worse than previously predicted, scientists said at a Royal Society discussion meeting partly organised by Reading scientists in London.

A two-day international meeting entitled ‘Food Crops in a Changing Climate’ brought together world-class scientists in the fields of meteorology, climate science and agriculture, to discuss the impacts of a changing climate on the productivity of staple food crops, grown throughout the world.

“Both these results show that we need to seriously re-examine our predictions for future global food production as they are likely to be far lower than previously estimated.” said Professor Steve Long from Illinois University.

University of Reading, Impact of climate change on crops worse than previously thought, 27 Apr 2005

they all look the same to me

Climate change is being blamed for a changing of the guard among Sydney’s cockroach population.

Researchers say the most common sub-species in city households was the german cockroach, until it disappeared about seven years ago.

Martyn Robinson from the Australian Museum says the Australian house cockroach, methana marginalus, which likes warmer climates, has begun moving in.

“It’s most likely to be the…warmer climate,” he said.

ABC News (Australia), 14 Mar 2007

democracy in action

Copenhagen’s city council in conjunction with Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard sent postcards out to 160 Copenhagen hotels urging COP15 Climate Change Conference guests and delegates to ‘Be sustainable – don’t buy sex’.

In response SIO (Sexarbejdernes Interesse Organisation; or the Sex workers Interest Organisation) announced on their website that this was a political attempt to criminalize sex work in the city.

They also announced that anyone who had received such a postcard could use it instead of payment:

“If you are a delegate at COP15, Sexworkers in Copenhagen are accepting the postcard as payment for sex.

In other words – we offer free sex for your postcard. We do this as a protest against the unjust and degrading campaign of the City Council. .

Employees and politicians of the Municipality of Copenhagen are exempted from the offer.”

Science Blogs, 15 Dec 2009

worse than we thought – amplifying feedbacks!

Climate change will be much worse, much sooner than most people think. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) recent report, while rather dire, is actually a best-case analysis.

For example, the IPCC’s report did not include the effects of “amplifying feedbacks” such as melting permafrost releasing methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — which causes more warming, which melts more permafrost, and on and on.

Including such effects leads to much more dire results than the UN presented.

Daily Kos, 23 Feb 2009

Cavendish the top banana – for now!

banana The forgotten death of the ‘Gros Michel’ banana bears a stark warning about how global warming could drive us all to starvation.

In the 1950s, the world happily chomped its way through two different varieties of banana. There was the Cavendish, the banana that we know and love today, and the Gros Michel, a smaller, sweeter variety. The Gros Michel, however, was wiped out in the same decade by a single disease.

The entire world trade in bananas, and many developing economies, are now based on a single variety, the Cavendish. Experts fear that it too may be vulnerable.

The Telegraph, 7 Dec 2015

worse than we thought – destabilisation of global climate!

We are in a Global Climate Emergency. The situation is much worse than we are told by those in power and much worse than the day to day discussion in the media would suggest. The need to take action on climate is more urgent and more immediate than ever.

The measures currently being taken at the national level – and even the best plans, currently being floated at the international level – are quite inadequate to meet the current level of threat. The main reason for this is that the destabilisation of global climate has progressed much more quickly than scientists thought.

This has had the result that the plans developed to deal with it are now insufficient, being based on out of date scientific projections.

Campaign against climate change, 11 Jan 2009

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

the competitive world of weeds

Is global warming fueling a new generation of more aggressive weeds? According to recent research, the answer may be yes.

“Weeds are survivors,” said Lee Van Wychen, director of science policy for the Weed Science Society of America. “They can fill various niches and thrive under a wide range of conditions. While we have about 45 major crops in the U.S., there are more than 400 species of different weeds associated with those crops.”

“There is always another weed species ready to become a major competitor with a crop if growing conditions change, such as an increase in carbon dioxide levels.”

Weed Science Society of America, 25 Mar 2012

worse than we thought – beach erosion

South Coast beach erosion worse than predicted, says experts. Twenty years ago, Professor Short was among the first researchers to document beach rotation in Australia.

He helped in the latest research that suggests an upsurge of El Nino and La Nina events will lead to extreme flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific, including Australia.

Professor Short, from Sydney University’s School of Geosciences, is co-author of a paper on coastal erosion of beaches that states it could be much worse than previously predicted. A South Coast resident, Professor Short says a persistent southern swell has built up sand on the northern end of smaller beaches.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Oct 2015

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

smarter than the average bear!

bearA historic Texas drought is driving bears into urban areas searching for food and water, the latest in a series of bizarre wildlife stories to come out of the deadly hot and dry weather across the nation.

They’re going to where they need to, said Louis Harveson, a Sul Ross State University professor of wildlife management who directs the school’s Borderlands Research Institute. “They’re scavengers — they’re basically an oversized raccoon.”

On a recent day, Penny Ferguson had returned from her 5:30 a.m. workout and, like any other morning, let her beagle out. The dog began barking wildly, and Ferguson ran outside to keep it from waking the neighbors.

A full-grown black bear on all fours, so big its shoulders reached her hips, was on her front lawn near the bird feeder. The bear ran out from under Ferguson’s front window and casually loped across the street. It wasn’t much bothered, but didn’t like the noise, said Ferguson, whose home in Fort Davis, Texas, is nestled near Davis mountains southeast of El Paso.

“We’re in town, much further into town than I would ever expect bears to be coming.”
Heat Is Online – Planetark.org, 1 Aug 2011

expert advice

It is in this context that Lehman Brothers decided to take a hard look at global warming, starting with the scientific and climatological evidence, then proceedings to the economic consequences and implications for policy; and finally – with significant help from the Firm’s equity analysts – considering potential impacts on major business sectors.

The result is this publication: The Business of Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities…And, as the title indicates, we consider that climate change poses many challenges but also presents many business opportunities…

This study is far from the last word; indeed, we see it as just a starting point for a dialogue with our investing an corporate clients. As the discussions with our clients and policy experts progress, we will take this work further.

Lehman Brothers, The Business of Climate Change, February 2007

a case for procrastination

Global warming could release radioactive waste stored in an abandoned Cold War-era U.S. military camp deep under Greenland’s ice caps if a thaw continues to spread in coming decades, scientists said on Friday.

Camp Century was built in northwest Greenland in 1959 as part of U.S. research into the feasibility of nuclear missile launch sites in the Arctic, the University of Zurich said in a statement. Staff left gallons of fuel and an unknown amount of low-level radioactive coolant there when the base shut down in 1967 on the assumption it would be entombed forever, according to the university.

It is all currently about 35 metres (114.83 ft) down. But the part of the ice sheet covering the camp could start to melt by the end of the century on current trends, the scientists added.

The study said it would be extremely costly to try to remove any waste now. It recommended waiting “until the ice sheet has melted down to almost expose the wastes before beginning site remediation.”

The Globe and Mail, 5 Aug 2016

thanks to ddh

censure the locavores!

Locavores, those who aim to eat locally grown food, may be doing more harm than good to the environment, writes Simon Webster.

British consumers would be better off buying dairy products from New Zealand than from their own country, a report from Lincoln University, New Zealand, concluded last year.

British dairy produces 35 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than New Zealand dairy, even including transport from New Zealand to Britain, the report found. This is because New Zealand agriculture uses fewer fertilisers and its dairy cows graze outside on grass, whereas British cows are housed in barns where they eat bought-in, concentrated feed.

More efficient farming methods also make New Zealand lamb and apples better options in Britain than local produce, the researchers found.

Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Nov 2008

worse than we thought – solar energy!

We are all seeing rather less of the Sun. Scientists looking at five decades of sunlight measurements have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface has been gradually falling.

Paradoxically, the decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought. The effect was first spotted by Gerry Stanhill, an English scientist working in Israel. Comparing Israeli sunlight records from the 1950s with current ones, Stanhill was astonished to find a large fall in solar radiation.

“There was a staggering 22% drop in the sunlight, and that really amazed me,” he says.

BBC Radio, 14 Jan 2005

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – global warming!

The latest scientific research indicates global warming is happening faster then recent United Nations reports projected, while China and India’s rapid economic growth means carbon emissions are rising quicker than expected, a Labor-backed panel into climate change has heard.

Summer in the northern hemisphere over the past century had extended 12 days, but in some areas, such as northern Norway, it was about six weeks longer, said Graeme Pearman, former chief of the CSIRO’s atmospheric research.

“This is not something that’s affecting people in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time. It’s now,” he said. “The recent science has strengthened the concern that we may have underestimated the rate of change.”

The Age (Australia), 15 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

a shadow of their former selves

Songbirds in the US are getting smaller, and climate change is suspected as the cause. A study of almost half a million birds, belonging to over 100 species, shows that many are gradually becoming lighter and growing shorter wings.

This shrinkage has occurred within just half a century, with the birds thought to be evolving into a smaller size in response to warmer temperatures.

Dr Josh Van Buskirk of the University of Zurich, Switzerland and colleagues Mr Robert Mulvihill and Mr Robert Leberman of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Rector, Pennsylvania, US decided to evaluate the sizes of hundreds of thousands of birds that pass through the Carnegie Museum’s Powdermill ringing station, also in Pennsylvania.

But some species are losing more weight. For example, the rose-breasted grosbeak has declined in mass by about 4%, while the Kentucky warbler has dropped 3.3% in weight and the scarlet tanager 2.3%. The headline finding is that the body sizes of many species of North American birds, mostly songbirds, are gradually becoming smaller, says Dr Buskirk.

Heat Is Online – originally BBCNews.com, 13 Mar 2010

climate change causes swelled heads!

Jessica Ash and Gordon Gallup studied 109 fossilized skulls from different lattitudes to determine that “climate may have been an important selective force behind the evollution of human cranial capacity,” according to Gallup, who theorised that changes in global temperature could account for as much as 50 per cent of the variation in headmeat.

“Specifically we found that as the distance from the equator increased, north or south, so did brain size,” he said.

The researchers will publish their study in the spring edition of Human Nature.

Wired, 22 Mar 2007

UN climate conferences to end!

Car travel should be cut by 80%, road construction halted and public transport boosted if Australia is to meet carbon emission targets, energy experts have warned.

“The car is doomed,” Monash University associate professor Damon Honnery said, discussing the findings of a soon-to-be-published research paper, Mitigating Greenhouse: Limited Time Options, written with Dr Patrick Moriarty.

“People are going to have to fundamentally change the way they think about travel and make much more use of non-motorised travel such as cycling and walking.”

Dr Moriarty also believes there must be big reductions in air travel. “An overseas trip might become a once-in-a-lifetime experience rather than an annual event,” he said.

The Age (Australia), 3 Mar 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – action plan

an optimist speaks!

New research shows penguins will suffer in a warming world. But the important extension of this work is into the future.

The scientists took their current knowledge of penguin health and climate and asked what will happen to these penguins in the future. Since we do not have measurements in the future, the scientists used climate models.

These models are computer calculations of the actual climate that will exist in the future, and the calculations are based on our best understanding of how the climate system works.

Fortunately, climate models have an excellent history in predicting how the future will evolve.

I expect that now with the science of climate change settled (in the sense we know the climate is changing and we know humans are the main cause), scientists will turn their attention to impacts research.

Dr John Abraham, a professor of thermal sciences in The Guardian, 3 Aug 2016 – emphasis and underline by this website

thanks to ddh

a timely warning!

A climate researcher yesterday painted a dark picture of an inundated American coastline and the resulting economic impact should the west Antarctic ice sheet melt because of man-caused global warming within the next century.

“It is surely the most dramatic of the possible carbon-induced effects and its initiation cannot be ruled out as a possibility before the end of this century,” said Dr Stephen Schneider of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research at Boulder, Colo. in a report to a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Schneider and Robert Chen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology examined the implications of a 15 to 25 foot rise in ocean levels for the United States.

The nation’s coastline would change markedly. A 25-foot rise in sea level would submerge Savannah, Ga, Charleston S.C., four of the eight Virginia cities with populations over 100,000, one fourth of Delaware and portions of Washington, D.C.

The Palm Beach Post, 8 Jan 1979

thanks to Albert

the perils of climate science

From depression to substance abuse to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, growing bodies of research in the relatively new field of psychology of global warming suggest that climate change will take a pretty heavy toll on the human psyche as storms become more destructive and droughts more prolonged.

For your everyday environmentalist, the emotional stress suffered by a rapidly changing Earth can result in some pretty substantial anxieties.

Two years ago, Camille Parmesan, a professor at Plymouth University and the University of Texas at Austin, became so “professionally depressed” that she questioned abandoning her research in climate change entirely.

“I don’t know of a single scientist that’s not having an emotional reaction to what is being lost,” Parmesan is quoted saying in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2012 report, “The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the United States: And Why the U.S. Mental Health Care System is Not Adequately Prepared.”.

Heat Is Online – originally Madeleine Thomas in Grist.org, Oct. 28, 2014

the English and the Swedes to fade out!

Olympic Athletes Challenged by New Opponent: Global Warming.

Marathon runners, swimmers, volleyball players and even soccer referees will succumb to extreme temperatures and lose concentration during the games, in some cases risking their lives to heatstroke, according to a report released Monday by Observatorio do Clima, a Brazilian civil society group.

“Because of warming, sport will never be the same again,” and fewer records than in previous games are likely to fall as a result, the report said.

The heat is likely to be painful for athletes from colder climates, says Brazilian tennis player Fernando Meligeni. He reckons European players won’t be used to the humidity, which will make them sweat more than usual.

“I believe that the English and the Swedish, for example, will fade out,” Meligeni said, according to the report.

Bloomberg, 8 Aug 2016

thanks to ddh

we feel your pain

Can you relate to this grieving process? If so, you might find solace in the fact that you are not alone: Climate science researchers, scientists, journalists and activists have all been struggling with grief around what we are witnessing.

Last year I wrote about the work of Joanna Macy, a scholar of Buddhism, eco-philosophy, general systems theory and deep ecology, and author of more than a dozen books.

Her initiative, The Work That Reconnects, helps people essentially do nothing more mysterious than telling the truth about what we see, know and feel is happening to our world.

In order to remain able to continue in our work, we first must feel the full pain of what is being done to the world, according to Macy.

“Refusing to feel pain, and becoming incapable of feeling the pain, which is actually the root meaning of apathy, refusal to suffer – that makes us stupid, and half alive,” she told me. “It causes us to become blind to see what is really out there.”

Heat Is Online – originally Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org. Jan 25, 2015

lemming numbers are falling off a cliff!

Climate change is bringing wetter winters to southern Norway, a bleak prospect for the region’s lemmings.

Scientists found that numbers of the animals no longer vary over a regular cycle, as they did until a decade ago; there are no more bumper years.

The snow is not stable enough, they think, to provide winter shelter. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers suggest the lack of Norwegian lemmings is affecting other animals such as foxes and owls.

Heat Is Online – originally BBCNews, 6 Nov 2008

Batman, Superman, etc, not needed!

In a recent study published in The Journal of Industrial Ecology, researchers at the Center for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey in England estimated the annual carbon footprint of crime in England and Wales, and found that reducing crime could actually cause society’s overall carbon footprint of society to increase.

While there is an energy cost to operating prisons, the study notes, inmates generally consume less than an average citizen in the country, so fewer prisoners might mean higher overall energy consumption.

Additionally, the money saved from reducing crime would go into the government’s budget and people’s pockets. All that money could be spent in other ways — infrastructure, buildings or goods — that may require more energy to produce or operate, possibly adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

New York Times, 3 Aug 2016

thanks to ddh

climate change causes increase in bad writing!

The language of ice in Antarctica gains clarity at about 500 feet up. It’s from here, glimpsed through the just open tailgate of a low-flying aircraft, that the nuance of its vocabulary, baffling in the scientific reports, may be heard.

The soft fragility of the floes, a translucent crust over the bays. The booming magificence of a glacier, its echo extending to an ice shelf that calves icebergs into the sea. Isolated islands of ice, their ballast glowing emerald green under the water, pushing loudly into the subdued scatter of pack ice.

Screaming cravasses fracturing the ice sheet, revealing unfathomable blue in its depths. The dynamics of the forces creating all this continues to confound scientists, who are now scrambling to translate and explain the language of ice even as it seems to find new and troubling expressions.

Jo Chandler, the Age (Australia), 21 Jan 2008 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – animal extinctions!

Climate change over the next 50 years is expected to drive a quarter of land animals and plants into extinction, according to the first comprehensive study into the effect of higher temperatures on the natural world.

The sheer scale of the disaster facing the planet shocked those involved in the research. They estimate that more than 1 million species will be lost by 2050. The results are described as “terrifying” by Chris Thomas, professor of conservation biology at Leeds University.

Professor Thomas said: “When scientists set about research they hope to come up with definite results, but what we found we wish we had not. It was far, far worse than we thought, and what we have discovered may even be an underestimate.”

The Guardian, 9 Jan 2004

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

don’t tread on a sheep!

Sheep living on a remote island off the coast of Scotland have been shrinking for 20 years. Now it seems shorter winters caused by climate change are responsible.

Soay sheep are a primitive breed of domestic sheep, which live on the island of Hirta, in the St Kilda archipelago, without human interference. From 1955 onwards, the population has been closely studied.

Over the last 20 years, the average size of the sheep has been getting smaller, but it has been unclear why – particularly as natural selection would tend to drive the development of bigger bodies.

Kaustuv Roy, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California San Diego, who was not involved in the study, is impressed. “Their results are really useful, because they tease apart the different processes. It’s a really nice study,” he says.

New Scientist, 2 Jul 2009

worse than we thought – Antarctic ice!

Antarctic ice thawing faster than predicted.

Chris Rapley, the outgoing head of the British Antarctic Survey, said there were worrying signs of accelerating flows of ice towards the ocean from both Antarctica and Greenland with little sign of more snow falling inland to compensate.

The ice is moving faster both in Greenland and in the Antarctic than the glaciologists had believed would happen, Rapley told Reuters during a climate seminar in Ny Alesund on a Norwegian Arctic island 1,200 km from the North Pole.

Reuters, 22 Aug 2007

worse than we thought – impacts!

Global warming is driving humanity toward unprecedented risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the changes have only just begun, with the worst effects hitting the earth’s poorest people the hardest.

“Things are worse than we had predicted in 2007, when the group of scientists last issued this type of report,” said report co-author Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at Independent University in Bangladesh. “We are going to see more and more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated.”

al Jazeera America, 31 Mar 2014