hot enough to fry an egg!

In 50 years, summers across most of the globe could regularly be hotter than any summer experienced so far by people alive today, according to a study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

If climate change continues on its current trajectory, the probability that any summer between 2061 and 2080 will be warmer than the hottest on record is 80 percent across the world’s land areas, excluding Antarctica, which was not studied.

If greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, however, that probability drops to 41 percent, according to the study.

“Extremely hot summers always pose a challenge to society,” said NCAR scientist Flavio Lehner, lead author of the study. “They can increase the risk for health issues, but can also damage crops and deepen droughts. Such summers are a true test of our adaptability to rising temperatures.”

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “Future summers could regularly be hotter than the hottest on record.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2016

thanks to David Mulberry

worse than we thought – catastrophic damages!

The world is now on track to experience more catastrophic damages from climate change than in the worst-case scenario forecast by international experts, scientists have warned.

The research, published in a prestigious US science journal, shows that between 2000 and 2004 the rate of increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels was three times greater than in the 1990s.

Emissions are increasing faster than we thought, which means the impacts of climate change will also happen even sooner than expected, said Dr Raupach, a co-chairman of the Global Carbon Project, based at the CSIRO in Canberra.

The Age, 22 May 2007

Climate conference emits hot air!

Amid talk of offsetting the hefty carbon footprint of the United Nations climate conference in Bali, organisers missed a large elephant in the room.

The air-conditioning system installed to keep more than 10,000 delegates cool used highly damaging refrigerant gases – as lethal to the atmosphere as 48,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and nearly the equivalent of the emissions of all aircraft used to fly delegates to Indonesia.

In addition, the refrigerant is a potent greenhouse gas, with each kilogram at least as damaging as 1.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Investigators at the Balinese resort complex at Nusa Dua counted 700 cylinders of the gas, each of them weighing 13.5 kilograms, and the system was visibly leaking.

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Dec 2007

worse than we thought – dire global consequences!

The Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications report, released today, outlines dire global consequences of a warming Arctic that are far worse than previous projections.

The report shows that numerous arctic climate feedbacks – negative effects prompted by the impacts of warming — will make global climate change more severe than indicated by other recent projections, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 assessment.

“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,” said James Leape, director general of WWF International. WWF Global, 2 Sep 2009

worse than we thought – soot!

Soot worse for global warming than thought.

Grains of soot deposited in snow have also caused about one-quarter of the observed rise in global surface temperature since 1880, suggests the model by James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko. The pair examined how soot particles affect the atmosphere when they darken snow and ice.

The effect of soot on snow is unambiguous,” Hansen told New Scientist. “It causes a strong warming effect.”

New Scientist, 22 Dec 2003

pull up the moat!

A report done by University of NSW’s Dr Mark Diesendorf found energy efficiency to be a key way to cut greenhouse emissions.

Commissioned by Greenpeace, the report is based on the premise that to prevent global average temperatures from rising above 2C over pre-industrial levels, the world must cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.

To do that, interim targets are vital, with several estimates suggesting developed nations such as Australia must cut pollution by at least 30 per cent relative to 1990 levels by 2020.

To achieve the 30 per cent cut, more controversial measures such as an end to land clearing, a 20 per cent cut in beef production to reduce the effect of methane from cattle, a 50 per cent cut in business and professional immigration, and the elimination or offset of emissions from aluminium smelting would be needed.

Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Oct 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – ice at both poles!

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, a group of scientists has issued an update on the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their conclusions? Ice at both poles is melting faster than predicted, the claims of recent global cooling are wrong, and world leaders must act fast if steep temperature rises are to be avoided.

The report — titled “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” — finds that in several key areas observed changes are outstripping the most recent projections by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warns that “there is a very high probability of the warming exceeding 2 °C unless global emissions peak and start to decline rapidly” within the next decade.

Elizabeth Kobert, Environment360, 24 Nov 2009

a green politician thinks the unthinkable!

The Greens leader, Bob Brown, says he fears a “tentative and ineffective” emissions trading scheme will be developed by the Federal Government and it could be worse than no trading scheme at all.

Senator Brown outlined the essentials any trading system must have to win the support of his party, which holds five of the critical seven balance of power votes in the Senate.

“The penalty clause for us not acting is almost unthinkable,” he said. “This planet, this country, is on the verge of cataclysmic times, such as the human collective experience has never known. I’m not talking as a green politician. I am talking on the basis of the experience, the study, and the dire warnings from the world’s best thinkers.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

a new environmental warrior!

Stand aside Al Gore, there’s a new environmental warrior on the scene and his name is Jason Kimberley. He’s the photographer, author and Antarctic explorer who has a chilling message about the future of this planet and he’s delivering it via the movement he’s created, Cool Melbourne.

“I want to make sure all Melburnians know how poorly we’re treating our environment and how we need to improve,” an ardent Kimberley told Diary.

So what has Kimberley done to reduce the number of black balloons he sends up and away? He’s switched to a hybrid car, double-glazed his windows, installed solar heating and a water tank, bought friendly appliances, adn started a vegie patch. The Cool Melbourne websote says kiddies can do their bit by eating “nude food” – swapping plastic wrap and foil for reusable containers. Even adults can go nude (in a culinary sense).

The Age (Australia), 13 May 2008 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – methane!

New studies about the warming of the planet and the risk of massive release of methane from the Arctic are “worse than we thought.”

The expedition team SWERUS-C3, the Swedish-Russian-US Arctic Ocean Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere-Carbon was led by chief scientist Örjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University, who early on during the expedition remarked: “This was somewhat of a surprise.”

As such, the deadly combination of warming oceans and tenuous ice shelves that contain humongous quantities of methane may result in the “perfect storm” for runaway global warming, but nobody knows for sure.

Once again, that’s a key point: Nobody knows for sure. What is known is that the elements that lead to runaway global warming are “worse than we thought.”

Counterpunch, 20 Oct 2014

worse than we thought – CO2 emissions!

These proclamations, amazingly, go on and on, but one of the biggest, and almost completely unknown beyond the world of science, is that our CO2 emissions today are worse than the worst-case scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This was first revealed in the scholarly community in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in March of 2007 by a team of seven international scientists led by senior scientist Dr. Michael Raupach at the Australian National Science Program (CSIRO: The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization).

“Climate change is proceeding ten times faster than we (the climate scientists) had predicted .” Dr. Konrad Steffen, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Climate Change Now, Bruce Melton, June 2010

get with the trend!

Women’s concerns are getting a limited focus in efforts to curb climate change, experts said. Statistics from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) suggest that of the total project proposals on curbing climate change submitted to the GEF in 2014, only 18 percent addressed gender issues.

Carla Lopez the executive director of the Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres, a women’s fund based in Central America, doesn’t think the effort to link up threats to women and threats to the climate is simply an “attempt to grab the money” that is becoming available to deal with climate change.

Women’s organisations “are shifting to climate change because they see the reason as genuine, not because that is where the money is”, she said.

The problem facing many women’s groups in securing funding, she said, is that many do not know how to describe clearly the climate connection to their project – even though the links are there.

Reuters, 12 May 2016

thanks to ddh

worse than we thought – climate heating!

The climate is heating up far faster than scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries like China and India, a top climate scientist said on Saturday.

The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we’ve considered seriously, Chris Field, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Field said “the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious” than any of the climate predictions in the IPCC’s fourth assessment report called “Climate Change 2007.”

Reuters, 4 Feb 2009

kissing cousins?

Chris Servheen, a bear biologist and Adjunct Associate Research Professor at the University of Montana, is among a group of scientists who believe climate change is causing the polar and grizzly bears to come into contact more often.

“As you know, as the climate warms there is less and less sea ice in the Arctic,” he said. “And also what’s happening is that grizzly bears seem to be moving further north, we’re seeing their range extend further north toward the coast of the Arctic both in Alaska and in Canada.”

“The result is you have polar bears spending more time on land and grizzly bears spending more time where polar bears might be, and so the result is that we’re seeing these occasional hybrids between two species.”

ABC News (Australia), 19 May 2016

thanks to ddh

worse than we thought – time left for humanity!

There’s even less time for humanity to try to curb global warming than recently thought, according to a new in-depth scientific assessment by 26 scientists from eight countries.

Sea level rise, ocean acidification and the rapid melting of massive ice sheets are among the significantly increased effects of human-induced global warming assessed in the survey, which also examines the emissions of heat-trapping gases that are causing the climate change.

Mother nature puts a limit on how long you can dither and procrastinate, climatologist Richard Somerville, one of the study’s authors, told ABC News.
abcnews (US), 24 Nov 2009

freedom questioned

An emotional public debate is currently raging in Germany on whether to do away with a “national icon” – driving as fast as you can on the country’s autobahn or motorways

…a growing number of Germans are now questioning this “freedom”, arguing that it makes no sense calling for measures to curb global warming in other countries while at home motorists can effortlessly continue spewing large amounts of C02 into the atmosphere at the speeds they are allowed to travel

…the head of Germany’s Federal Environmental Office, Andreas Troge, says a speed limit of 120 km/h on motorways “costs nothing and would immediately reduce C02 emissions by 2.5 million tonnes per year”.

The Age (Australia), 17 Nov 2007

worse than we thought – catastrophic damages!

The world is now on track to experience more catastrophic damages from climate change than in the worst-case scenario forecast by international experts, scientists have warned.

The research, published in a prestigious US science journal, shows that between 2000 and 2004 the rate of increase in global carbon dioxide emissions form fossil fuels was three times greater than in the 1990s.

That is faster than even the worst-case scenario modelled by the world’s leading sientist in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, published over recent months, because updated emissions figures were not available in time to be included.

Senior CSIRO scientist Michal Raupauch, who led the international research on accelerating global emissions, told the Age that the findings were “dreadful”. “Emissions are increasing faster than we thought, which means the impacts of climate change will also happen even sooner than expected.”

The Age (Australia), 22 May 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – California sinking!

California is sinking even faster than scientists had thought, new NASA satellite imagery shows. Some areas of the Golden State are sinking more than 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) per month, the imagery reveals.

Though the sinking, called subsidence, has long been a problem in California, the rate is accelerating because the state’s extreme drought is fueling voracious groundwater pumping.

“Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records,” Mark Cowin, director of California’s Department of Water Resources, said in a statement. “As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly, and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage.”

Yahoo News, 23 Aug 2015

Say that again?

A widely reported “pause” in global warming may be an artefact of scientists looking at the wrong data, says a climate scientist at the European Space Agency.

Stephen Briggs from the European Space Agency’s Directorate of Earth Observation says that surface air temperature data is the worst indicator of global climate that can be used, describing it as “lousy”.

“The models don’t have the skill we thought they had. That’s the problem,” said Peter Jan van Leeuwen, director of the National Centre of Earth Observation at the University of Reading.

The Guardian, 14 Jun 2014

worse than we thought – Colorado River!

Colorado river is collapsing ‘sooner than anyone thought’. Water resource experts have known for many years that current use of the Colorado River is not sustainable.

This past spring was an unusually wet one, leading to higher-than-average runoff from river’s source in the Rocky Mountains. Yet even at atypically high levels, the river still ran dry before reaching its outlet at the Gulf of California.

All of which suggests that the elaborate water distribution system that sustains the cities and farms of the Southwest may be collapsing sooner than anyone expected.

Natural News, 10 Aug 2015

Amazon forests greener

………………………………….
Amazon rainforests green-up with sunlight in dry season. We analyzed Amazon vegetation phenology at multiple scales with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectoradometer (MODIS) satellite measurements from 2000 to 2005.

MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index(EVI, an index of canopy photosynthetic capacity) increased by 25% with sunlight during the dry season across Amazon forests… Alfredo R. Huete and others, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 33, issue 6, March 2006

Amazon forests not greener

Amazon forests did not green up during the 2005 drought. We find no evidence of large scale greening of intact Amazon forests during the 2005 drought – approximately 11-12% of these drought stricken forests display greening while 28-29% show browning or no change, and for the rest the data are not of sufficient quality to characterize any changes. Arindam Samana and others, Geophysical Research Letters Vol 37, issue 5, March 2010
………………………………….

Your planet needs you!

David McKnight (“Climate change at the helm of Labor’s next big idea”, April 23) rightly points out that preventing climate change will depend on stoppng business as usual, and that this will also mean stopping politics as usual.

This will require us to accept that unabated climate change is an existential and relatively imminent threat – something akin to a war.
Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Apr 2008 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – sea level rise!

Rises in sea levels caused by climate change are likely to be bigger than predicted and more dangerous, but scientists are reluctant to “stick their necks out” on the issue for fear of being labelled alarmist, a leading international expert is warning.

Stefan Rahmstorf, a lead author of the recent United Nations report on climate change, has just published a new way of projecting sea level rises caused by global warming. His method suggests much higher rises than published by the UN panel this year, adding to concerns that the panel was too consrvative in its last report.

“It was the icesheet experts who were most upset,” said Professor Rahmstorf, who advises the German government on climate change. “They felt that those risks were not properly represented.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Aug 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – ice at both poles!

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, a group of scientists has issued an update on the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their conclusions? Ice at both poles is melting faster than predicted, the claims of recent global cooling are wrong, and world leaders must act fast if steep temperature rises are to be avoided.

The report — titled “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” — finds that in several key areas observed changes are outstripping the most recent projections by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warns that “there is a very high probability of the warming exceeding 2 °C unless global emissions peak and start to decline rapidly” within the next decade.

Elizabeth Kobert, Environment360, 24 Nov 2009

worse than we thought – ocean warming!

Global warming is worse than we thought, according to a study that claims temperature readings in the southern hemisphere have been inaccurate.

The US research suggests that we have been sucking up more than twice as much of the heat created by greenhouse gases than previously believed. Scientists have now recommended increasing estimates of the rate of ocean warming by between 48 per cent and 152 per cent.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists used satellite observations to uncover long-term ocean warming in the upper 2,300ft (700 metres) of Southern Hemisphere oceans, and found old data was inaccurate.

“This underestimation is a result of poor sampling prior to the last decade and limitations of the analysis methods that conservatively estimated temperature changes in data-sparse regions,” said oceanographer Paul Durack, lead author of the study.

Daily Mail Australia, 7 Oct 2014

worse than we thought – extreme weather!

As yet, we can’t say how much of the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy was attributable to climate change. It’s nonetheless suggestive of the extreme events that a changing climate will visit on us – much sooner than we had anticipated.

Obama can perhaps be forgiven for casting climate change as a future challenge. The scientists who drew up the last major report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 may have taken that view too.

But it is now becoming clear that the report underestimated how quickly the planet would respond to warming and how serious the effects are likely to be.
New Scientist, 14 Nov 2012

wake up call!

coffee_cupCoffee lovers may want to get that caffeine fix before the treasured drink becomes a rare export. Starbucks raised the issue last year when the company’s director of sustainability told The Guardian that climate change is threatening the supply chain for the Arabica coffee bean.

Starbucks Sustainability Director Jim Hanna told the paper, “What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean.”
Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2012

par for the …

golf_courseGlobal warming has been blamed for everything else. So you may as well add to the list the carnage that has taken place at the US Masters this year.

In the decade since Tiger Woods ripped Augusta National apart with his record total of 18 under par, the length has been drastically increased, trees added and rough grown where there was none. But, almost always, there has been heavy rain to soften the treacherous greens.

This time, however, after an unusually warm spring, the greens have been baked so hard the millionaire members could use them as helipads. As a result, entering the weekend, the Masters had become a survival of the fittest with only three players under par and most of the world’s top players struggling to stay in touch.

Sydney Sun Herald, 8 Apr 2007 – screen copy held by this website

the hills are alive! (2)

As reported in Geophysical Research Letters, one effect of global warming is that mountains can get taller. The weight of ice held in glaciers can contribute to the depression of the earth’s crust into the viscous mantle; as the glaciers shrink the effect of that depression is reduced, and mountain ranges gradually uplift.

Glaciers in the Alps have been shrinking since the end of the last mini ice age, but evidence suggests the rate of shrinkage is increasing due to anthropogenic climate change, with knock on effects on the rate of mountain uplift.

Geological Society of London blog, 5 Mar 2014

saving the planet, one snip at a time!

scissorsSaving the planet one house at a time. Geoff Strong meets four families doing their bit.

While the world has argued in Bali about how to stem climate change, back home ordinary people are making adjustments to ordinary lives. Some have cut back on eletricity use with more efficient appliances and insulation.

But in response to questions from the Age about how householders are stemming water use and greenhouse gas production, one of the most forthright came from the mother of a family of six: “What we did to save the environment was – my husband had a vasectomy.”
The Age (Australia), 17 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Comment – a politician exercises his right to silence!

Comment by admin – I’m a voter and I sent an email to the Australian Minister for the Environment, Mr Greg Hunt, on 16 Dec 2015 and again on 20 Jan 2016 asking the following questions;

1. At the Paris agreement, why has Australia pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 26-28% by 2030 while under the agreement China will continue to increase its carbon emissions by a significant amount during the same period?

2. How much has Australia promised to deposit in the Green Climate Fund?

3. Taking all Australia’s commitments on climate change together, what effect will these have on the world’s temperature?

So far, not even an acknowledgement!

seals given leg up

Male seals are reaping the benefits of climate change by having more sex, scientists have discovered. Subordinate grey seals are taking advantage of rising temperatures and falling rainfall to mate more often.

Due to climate change female grey seals are being forced to travel further for drinking water – removing them from the watchful eye of the dominant males and allowing the subordinate males to take advantage.

The research has been conducted by Dr Sean Twiss, from Durham University, who studied the mating patterns of grey seal colony on the remote Scottish Island of North Rona.

“These findings show that climate change, whilst endangering many species, could also help to increase the genetic diversity of some species, giving a leg up (or over!) to males who normally wouldn’t be so successful.”

Daily Mail (Australia), 14 Dec 2006

a snowflake’s chance

Snow has fallen in Baghdad, Iraq for the first time in approximately 100 years. Although Baghdad sometimes sees hail and sleet, snow has never been seen in living memory. Snow was also recorded in the western and central parts of the country, where it is also very unusual, and in the Kurdish north, which is mountainous and commonly sees snowfall.

A statement by the meteorology department read “Snow has fallen in Baghdad for the first time in about a century as a result of two air flows meeting. The first one was cold and dry and the second one was warm and humid. They met above Iraq.”

Dawood Shakir, director of the meteorology department, told AFP his take on the causation of the snow: “It’s very rare. Baghdad has never seen snow falling in living memory. These snowfalls are linked to the climate change that is happening everywhere. We are finding some places in the world which are warm and are supposed to be cold.”

Wikinews, 11 Jan 2008

small beer

Famed for producing some of the world’s best beer, Germany could suffer from a drop in production due to climate change-induced water shortages. Barley and hops can only be grown with water, and using cheaper alternatives like corn isn’t possible in Germany because of strict regulations about what you can make beer with.

Research published earlier this year in the journal Nature Climate Change found that “unless farmers develop more heat-tolerant corn varieties or gradually move corn production from the United States into Canada, frequent heat waves will cause sharp price spikes,” reported The New York Times.

Price spikes for U.S. corn could affect prices of American macrobrews made with an adjunct ingredient like corn.

Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2012

the end is nigh again!

sandwich_board6.6.16 is almost the devil’s number, but it might be much more than that if a leading scientist’s prediction on climate change is correct.

CSIRO fellow Dr Paul Fraser has earmarked June 6 (“plus or minus a week”) as the day when carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere will hit the point of no return, 400 parts per million (ppm).

The atmospheric measuring station at Cape Grim in Tasmania has recorded the current C02 levels in the atmosphere at 399.9ppm.

Dr Fraser said the difference between 399 and 400ppm was trivial, but when it does hit 400ppm mark it would be a “psychological tipping point”.

Once it reaches 400ppm at Cape Grim it’s very unlikely to drop below 400 again, Dr Fraser told ninemsn.
Channel 9 News (Australia), 13 May 2016

thanks to ddh

ClimateCam is watching you!

big_brother_eyeA huge electronic billboard in the city square telling residents exactly how much greenhouse gas they have produced in the past hour. Sounds a little futuristic? Not if you live in Newcastle.

ClimateCam, the world’s first greenhouse gas speedometer, displays electricity consumption information collected from the 15 substations that supply homes and businesses in the Newcastle local government area. The council now believes Newcastle has been established as an international testing ground for climate solutions.

“We realise that the climate change issue is just so big and we are so, in Australia, far behind the rest of the world that we need to move very, very quickly if we’re going to catch up and have access to the huge economic opportunity that we foresee is coming with the implementation of climate solutions,” city energy and resource manager of Newcastle City Council, Peter Dormand says.
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Oct 2007

staying together for the sake of the planet

As if going through a divorce was not stressful enough, now researchers say marriage break-ups are bad for the environment.

A survey of 12 countries shows that rising divorce rates around the world have resulted in more households with fewer people in them. This escalates the use of resources such as water, land and energy, leading researchers to declare that divorcces lead to less sustainable lifestyles.

“People have been talking about how to protect the environment and combat climate change, but divorce is an overlooked factor,” said Jianguo Liu, an ecological sustainability expert at Michigan State University.

The Age (Australia), 4 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

sacrilege!

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

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

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

saved by a dimming sun!

By 2014, the Met Office predicts that the average global temperature will be about 0.3 degrees hotter than in 2004. Australian experts said the the findings, published overnight in the prestigious journal Science, were significant and worrying.

“The most interesting thing is that it bears out the other models we have, showing that the amount of warming built into the system (because of long-lived greenhouse gases) is not great enough that we’ll just keep setting records unless we’re saved by volcanoes or a dimming sun,” said Professor Nicholls, one of Australia’s key contributors to this year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.
The Age (Australia), 10 Aug 2007 – screen copy held by this website

backyards bitten!

Sea-level rise, combined with more severe weather events caused by climate change, will lead to storm surges that will greatly magnify flooding and erosion along coastal communities with devastating consequences, says the report Climate Change in Australia.

Presenting his research on sea-level rise, Dr Church, one of Australia’s leading oceanographers, told the conference the story of a CSIRO secretary whose owns a house on Roches Beach near Hobart – one of the beaches he examined that shows coastal erosion at 100 times the rate of sea-level rise.

Dr Church said the secretary keeps asking him when she should sell her house. When you see dramatic pictures of ice falling off Greenland, this is where it’s biting – in your backyard, he explained.

“Our research shows sea-level rise is an issue, it’s occurring now, it’s having an impact now and it’s going to be increasingly felt in the 21st century and the longer term.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Oct 2007

climate change causes upsurge in dramatic writing!

Another week on a changing planet….. Scientists drop a red-hot report forecasting catastrophic wildfires as a regular hazard of Australian summers.

Suburbanites spooked by drought-inflated grocery bills contemplate a return to the vegie patch, but how to water it?

And far away, in the melting permafrost of Russia’s Arctic, mammoth dung is released in a putridly poetic message – from one long-lost species to another distinctly nervous one – about the vulnerability of all creatures on this merciless earth.

The mammoth never got the memo to act, adapt or perish. The same can’t be said of humanity.

Jo Chandler, a senior Age writer. The Age (Australia), 29 Sep 2007

beware of rampaging mice!

mice_runningTwo researchers have found that mice can detect higher carbon dioxide levels by using specialised neurons in their noses. Collaborative researchers Minmin Luo, from the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, and Peter Mombaerts, from the Rockefeller University, New York, find that intriguing.

Their study has been published in Science. The more CO2 the mice were exposed to, the more their behaviour changed. When given the choice between high and low CO2 concentrations, the mice avoided anything higher than 0.2 per cent. So as climate change causes atmospheric CO2 levels to rise, will mice go crazy?

Not so fast says Mombaerts. If the CO2 increases are gradual the mice might be able to adapt, but there is a posibility that mice could become more fearful or aggressive because the behavioural effect is still not known.
Newcastle Herald,(Australia), 21 Aug 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Yes, but what does it sound like?

How our musos (musicians) are saving the planet.

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

happiness is a long hot bubble bath

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

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

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

climate change reaches cut off point!

At the remote camp of Sarara, north of Nairobi, I asked village elders about the drought…That evening I learnt a most remarkable consequence of the drought. The Samburu circumcise their youths in grand ceremonies which are held every seven years or so, when enough cattle and other foods have accumulated to support such celebrations.

Circumcision represents transition to manhood, until a youth has passed it he can’t marry. But it’s been 14 years since a circumcision ceremony has been held here. There are now 40,000 uncircumcised young men, some in their late 20’s waiting for their turn. All the eligible young women, tired of waiting, have married older men (multiple wives are allowed), so there are no wives for the new initiates.

I could never have imagined that climate change would have such an effect on an entire society. On reflection though, cultures such as the Samburu are intimately linked to their environment, so as these pressures increase it becomes more difficult to maintain long-held traditions.

Tim Flannery, The Age (Australia) 3 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

save the whales!

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

to plant, or not to plant?

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

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

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

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

ban camels!

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

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

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

see also – action plan

but I thought…

The oceans’ ability to act as a “carbon sink” soaking up greenhouse gases appears to be decreasing, research shows, leading to new fears about global warming.

One of the authors of the study, published on Saturday in a paper for the Journal of Geophysical Research, said the change may have been triggered by climate change and may also accelerate the process by leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere.

Natural processes mean the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is reduced when the gas dissolves into the waters of the oceans which cover much of the surface of the earth, turning them into vast “sinks” storing the carbon safely. But the new study suggests the amount of carbon dioxide entering the oceans is declining, possibly because warmer global weather has heated the water near the surface.

Professor Andrew Watson, of the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia, warned that the process may fuel climate change. “It will be a positive feedback, because if the oceans take up less CO2 then CO2 will go up faster in the atmosphere and that will increase the global warming.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Oct 2007

The wedge-tailed shearwater and the fairy tern wink out!

In a paper he co-wrote, to be published next month, ‘The history of threatened birds in Australia and its offshore islands’, Professor Garnett of Charles Darwin University and chairman of Bird Australia’s threatened species committee, makes a long list of disturbing predictions as to the viability of our bird life because of feral species running amok, human sprawl and climate change.

Already the wedge-tailed shearwater is struggling to feed itself because waters of the Barrier Reef are getting too warm to sustain its diet of fish, squid and crustaceans.

Based on a report from Professor Garnett’s committee, Birds Australia recently recommended the World Conservation Union (IUCN) list the fairy tern as vulnerable on its “red list”, which ranks a species’ risk of winking out forever.
The Age (Australia), 30 Sep 2007

solution found for melting ice shelves!

“Talk is cheap. In the past week, there has been much of it in relation to climate change. The world needs action. This year there has been at least a dozen international conferences and/or major reports released on climate change.

This week there have been three major meetings: two under the auspices of the United Nations and one by the United States. On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hosted a meeting of more than 150 countries as a precursor to a conference in December in Bali at which the groundwork will begin for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Another UN meeting, attended by 190 representatives, was held the previous weekend. In the past few days, US President George Bush has hosted his own conference on climate change attended by 15 of the world’s major greenhouse emitters, including China and India. Australia has been represented by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

If the words spoken or written about climate change could be frozen, ice shelves now breaking into the sea would be replenished.”

Insight, The Age (Australia), 29 Sep 2007 – screen copy held by this website

you wascally wabbits!

A huge surge in the number of rabbits is threatening Australian attempts to curb climate change. A study by the Canberra-based Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre says tree seedlings planted in a national carbon offset scheme are at risk of being eaten by rabbits.

Dr Brian Cooke from the University of Canberra said that the current rabbit problem was “the worst we’ve seen in 10 years”. As well as causing soil erosion and threatening native vegetation, rabbits eat tree and shrub seedlings, Dr Cooke said.
The Age (Australia), 30 Sep 2007

frogs at the mercy of sex crazed fungus!

group_of_frogsFrogs, threatened by a fungal disease sweeping the globe, may be in far greater peril than first thought, according to research led by an Australian scientist.

Until now it had been assumed the chytrid fungus, which attacks the skin of frogs, only reproduced asexually – through simple cell division – and required a host amphibian to migrate to new areas. But now findings suggest it can reproduce sexually, creating spores that may blow in the wind or be accidentally transported into uncontaminated habitats.

Jess Morgan, a Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries molecular parasite expert, said that if she was right, the fungus could spread far more easily than believed. Environmental variations, including climate change, could trigger a reproductive switch.

“The fastest way to reproduce is clonally, as you don’t have to find a mate,” Dr Morgan said.

When conditions are poor, the advantage of sexual reproduction is that you can produce … a spore, with a shell or resistant coat that lies dormant for years, waiting to ambush a luckless passing host.
Sun Herald Sydney, 26 Aug 2007

… almost?

As the world commits billions of dollars to save the world from global warming, criminals are poised to carve off their share. And increasingly they will use the internet to pull off their green scams in cyberspace. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty told the Age “green crime ” was a new frontier for law enforcement.

“New concepts such as carbon trading had significant potential for fraud”, he said. “Carbon trading is a derivatives or futures market. You’re actually trading in something that almost doesn’t exist so the opportunity for fraud or corruption could be significant.”

The Age (Australia), 21 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Dark Age looms!

knight_on_horseImagine a future in which humanity’s accumulated wisdom about Earth — our vast experience with weather trends, fish spawning and migration patterns, plant pollination and much more — turns increasingly obsolete.

As each decade passes, knowledge of Earth’s past becomes progressively less effective as a guide to the future. Civilization enters a dark age in its practical understanding of our planet.

To comprehend how this could occur, picture yourself in our grandchildren’s time, a century hence. Significant global warming has occurred, as scientists predicted.

Nature’s longstanding, repeatable patterns — relied on for millenniums by humanity to plan everything from infrastructure to agriculture — are no longer so reliable. Cycles that have been largely unwavering during modern human history are disrupted by substantial changes in temperature and precipitation.William B Gail, in New York Times, 19 Apr 2016

thanks to ddh

less meat means less heat!

Less meat means less heat. It’s a slogan that leading scientists hope will catch on worldwide, part of a call for people to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products to slow the pace of climate change.

Writing in the medical journal The Lancet, a team of international health experts led by Tony McMichael warns that the world’s growing appetite for meat is increasing greenhouse gas emissions, as vast areas of rainforest are bulldozed for grazing land and as more sheep and cattle burp.

Professor McMichael of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University, Canberra, and his colleagues argue that “for the world’s higher-income populations, greenhouse-gas emissions from meat eating warrants the same scrutiny as do those from driving and flying”.

According to a study published in July by Japanese scientists, a kilogram of beef generates the equivalent of 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide, more than the equivalent of driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on back home.

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Sep 2007

blame it all on the Arctic ground squirrel!

A study has found that the Arctic ground squirrel is contributing far more to global warming than previously thought, suggesting that it is a major contributor to climate change.

The study, by the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, reveals that Arctic squirrels are hastening the release of the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide by melting the permafrost that has kept dead animals and vegetation preserved underground for years.

“It certainly has a bigger impact than we’ve considered and it’s something we will be considering more and more going into the future,” said Dr Sue Natali, of the Woods Hole Research Centre.
The Independent, 17 Dec 2014

physician, heal thyself!

“The truth can be terrifying, so terrifying that often we prefer avoidance or lies. So it is with the reality of climate change. Like a diagnosis of terminal cancer, how I wish it wasn’t so. If only we could go on and on, with the dream of endless abundance and growing prosperity.”

“The problems of disease, poverty, and even war, seem dwarfed and solvable, compared to global warming. I am a psychologist, trained to help others with anxiety, depression, and despair, but I too wrestle with these demons. I have worried about the past and the ills that may befall my loved ones. Worries and doubts have kept me awake at night, and reduced my enjoyment of life.”

“I first realised how we were careening towards our doom nine years ago. I read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery and viewed Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I felt traumatised.”

Lyn Bender, a Melbourne psychologist, Eureka Street, 2 Mar 2014

listen to the bees!

bee_megaphoneWhen bees began to disappear from the landscape – and in America and Europe they are disappearing in their billions – it is an alarm signal. Today the bees are telling us something, and we need to listen.

The recent phenomena of the missing bees has been given a name: colony collapse disorder. Because bees play a key role in the landscape, they are a critical indicator of general environmental health. As one of Australia’s leading bee experts, Doug Somerville, of the NSW Department of Primary Industry, told me on Friday: “Honey bees are the canaries in the coalmine of the environment.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Aug 2007 – screencopy held by this website

all in a good cause!

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power posted photos on Twitter Wednesday to illustrate the purported effects of climate change on a West African nation’s coastline, but the pictures show a hotel that collapsed into the sea 12 years ago, the victim of erosion blamed largely on years of illegal mining of coastal sand.

“Had sobering meeting with Benin’s U.N. Ambassador, who described the devastating effects of climate change on his coastal country,” she tweeted. “Showed me chilling photos of eroding coastline, said ‘that’s climate change – a daily life of falling in the sea.’”

A Nexis search of news reports going back almost two decades shows that Benin, like its Gulf of Guinea neighbors, has long struggled with coastal erosion, a problem recorded since the 1960s. The earlier reports, however, say nothing about climate change, rising sea levels or melting icecaps. Only in more recent years have references to climate change started to appear in news reports on Benin’s erosion problems.

CNS News, 17 Jul 2014

…with few egrets

“I was amazed at the magnificent spectacle; there were egrets nesting in tall trees, birds by the hundreds of thousands,” says George Boland, remembering one of the most famous breeding events in NSW, less than a decade ago, on the farm he managed with his son in the Gwydir Valley near Moree….But the Yarrol station clearing is just one of the litany of disasters to wreak havoc in the Murray-Darling Basin in the past two decades. Massively expanding irrigation, water harvesting by farmers, drought and rising temperatures from climate change are putting the wetlands in the basin under severe stress.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30 Jun 2007 – screen copy held by this website

there’s an upside!

Dr Graeme Pearman – a former chief of CSIRO atmospheric research, and one of Australia’s foremost experts on climate change – sees progress, but then he is, despite all he knows, still an optimist. Adding to this is a paucity of solid investigation and analysis of the economic underpinnings of energy alternatives and carbon action.

“We are still caught up in these structures, and I don’t think we recognise them as a severe limitation,” Pearman says. “An effective response requires much more inclusive consideration of what you are doing, because you are trying to achieve multiple outcomes. You are trying to protect the economy. You are trying to protect the environment. You are trying to protect societal wellbeing, as well as leave something useful for the next generation. To do that requires a degree of integrated policy development that is really alien to us at this stage.”

The philosopher in him ponders whether this might be the gift of climate change: to teach humanity to transform into a more integrated, cohesive global organism.

The Age (Australia), 29 Sep 2007

otherwise known as a houseboat

The chairman of the Dutch National Climate Research Program, Professor Kabat has been a pioneer in climate research for 25 years and is a key player in developing the radical approach that has challenged the Dutch public to seize opportunities presented by climate change.

He says the Netherlands has developed floating houses, local companies are investing in saline-tolerant agriculture and experimental work is under way with floating greenhouses in the horticulture sector: “These too have been developed entirely to cope with climate change. I think that swap in attitude – from threat to opportunity – took on board a lot of private business interest immediately.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Dec 2009

report published just in time!

Scientists at the centre published their study last Thursday in the leading peer-reviewed journal Science.

“Given how fundamental these processes are to clouds and the overall global climate, our findings indicate that warming is likely to be on the high side of current projections,” John Fasullo, one of the researchers, said.

The new centre findings come ahead of a crucial United Nations conference in Doha starting on November 26 , where ministers will discuss the future of international action on greenhouse gas emissions.
Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Nov 2012

recycled water?

penguin_umbrella“Even if greenhouse gas emissions were stopped today, sea level would continue to rise for centuries, with the long-term sea-level commitment of a 2C warmer world significantly exceeding 2m.

In view of the potential implications for coastal populations and ecosystems worldwide, we investigate, from an ice-dynamic perspective, the possibility of delaying sea-level rise by pumping ocean water onto the surface of the Antarctic ice sheet.

We find that due to wave propagation ice is discharged much faster back into the ocean than would be expected from a pure advection with surface velocities.”

Delaying future sea-level rise by storing water in Antarctica. K. Frieler1, M. Mengel1, and A. Levermann1, Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 203–210, 2016

thanks to ddh

movie potential!

The world’s oldest mummies are at risk of disappearing because of man-made climate change, according to a group of Harvard University scientists.

Bodies mummified about 7,000 years ago in Chile are starting to rapidly degrade, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences said Monday in an e-mailed statement. Tests by Harvard’s Alice DeAraujo and Ralph Mitchell show that microbes that flourish in an increasingly humid climate are turning the preserved remains of Chinchorro hunter-gatherers into “black ooze.”
Bloomberg, 10 Mar 2015<?a>

Your Earth needs you!

“My audit of my family’s contribution to global warming: maintain our lease on the hybrid fuel car (uses significantly less petrol); follow David Suzuki’s maxim of walking or cycling whenever a journey is needed, or use the train; plant more vegies so we can consume where we produce; recycle our clothing needs by visiting the op-shop; install water tanks; put solar panels on our roof.”
Susan Ackroyd, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Nov 2006

why didn’t someone tell us this before?

For more than 30 years, Dr Joseph Reser, of the Australian Psychological Society, has been studying how people respond to environmental and natural disasters.

Over the past year, he has been in charge of studies relating to the psychological impact of climate change. Reser says research has found that saturation coverage of the issue in the media is causing some people to suffer a range of negative emotions, such as distress, frustration and anger.

“Many psychological and social science studies have been written about media overload. there’s so much discrepant information that people find it very difficult to make sense of it all,” he says.

The Australian Psychological Society says there are strategies people can use to overcome feelings of anxiety about the future. Perhaps the most useful advice it gives is to simply take a “news break”.

Switch off the radio and TV and avoid reading the newspaper for a few days. A tip that’s so obvious yet many of us forget that we have the power to do so.

The Age, 14 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website

stating the obvious

Global warming will force more animals onto the threatened species list, and some endangered animals will probably become extinct.

The mouse sized pygmy possum, which lives only in frosty alpine regions of NSW and Victoria, is one of the species most at risk as the temperature rises.

National Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman John Dengate said: “If the climate warms up the mountain pygmy possum will have to go further up the mountains. But they are already at the top and can’t go any further.”

Sun Herald, 26 Aug 2007 – screen copy held by this website

turtles need to speed up!

speeding_turtleSea turtles are among the earth’s oldest creatures. They have been around in various forms for 110 million years, since the age of the dinosaurs. During this time they have, of course, dealt with several changes in climate.

The difference with today’s climate change is its speed. “Compared to the past,” says Booth, “this change is happening lightning fast.” This is bad news for sea turtles, which are slow-growing and long-living (between 50 and 70 years), meaning they pass on adaptive traits only gradually.

“Basically, if the turtles can’t adapt fast enough, if they can’t move rookeries or change breeding seasons, then they’re doomed.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 29 Mar 2014