nail everything down!

While rising sea levels and changing global temperatures are already known to be a consequence of alleged manmade climate change, the GOCE satellite – which was not intended to study the effects of a warming climate – has found that gravity is weakening where ice is melting the fastest.

The results show that the thinning ice sheet from November 2009 to June 2012 caused local variations in gravity, measured by the satellite.

Daily Mail, 30 Sep 2014

Out, damned Spot!

Fido And Fluffy Are Ruining The Environment, UCLA Study Says.

When it comes to global warming, Fido and Fluffy are part of the problem, a new study by UCLA indicates. . . .

Pet ownership in the United States creates about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, UCLA researchers found. That’s the equivalent of driving 13.6 million cars for a year.

The problem lies with the meat-filled diets of kitties and pooches, according to the study by UCLA geography professor Gregory Okin.

Dogs and cats are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the impacts of meat production in the United States, said Orkin.

Compared to a plant-based diet, meat production “requires more energy, land and water and has greater environmental consequences in terms of erosion, pesticides and waste,” the study found. Patch, 6 Aug 2017

thanks to David Hanig

keep off the concrete!

Recent research suggests that global warming will also exacerbate respiratory allergies, as higher CO2 concentrations lead to vast increases in ragweed pollen production.

“There’s no denying there’s a change,” says Paul Ratner, an immunologist with the American College of Allergies. “It’s definitely bad news for people who have allergies.”

“Urban places, because of the baking effect of that increased concrete, definitely pollinate more,” says Ratner.

It doesn’t help that warming will also increase the production of ground-level ozone, a respiratory irritant that worsens asthma.

Time, 15 Sep 2008

sermons for sale

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley made national news last year when he fought to pass and signed a tax bill that levied a tax on Marylanders, businesses and churches for the amount of “impervious surface” they have on their property.

Roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots qualify for the “rainwater remediation fee” to “protect the Chesapeake Bay.” Though the O’Malley administration calls it a “fee,” it is commonly called the “rain tax” throughout the state.

It is wildly unpopular and the promise to fight to repeal the tax was a large factor in Maryland electing Republican Larry Hogan governor this month.

Now Prince George’s Country is offering a way for churches to avoid paying the tax, which is estimated to be an average of $744 per year for them — preach “green” to their parishioners.

The Daily Caller, 19 Nov 2014

missed it by that much!

“The central fact is that, after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the Earth seems to be cooling down.

Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” – Newsweek: April 28, 1975

That’s an excerpt from a story I wrote about climate science that appeared almost 40 years ago. Titled “The Cooling World,” it was remarkably popular; in fact it might be the only decades-old magazine story about science ever carried onto the set of a late-night TV talk show.

Now, as the author of that story, after decades of scientific advances, let me say this: while the hypotheses described in that original story seemed right at the time, climate scientists now know that they were seriously incomplete.

Our climate is warming — not cooling, as the original story suggested.

Peter Gwynne in Inside Science, 21 May 2014

hardy gardens needed

People’s gardens are already changing. The days of the English lawn in Australia have gone forever. We need Australian gardens that can survive new extremes.

There will be a reduction in the number of exotic plants. People’s gardens are starting to look different and in 20 years time they will be radically different. People are going to have to return to growing some of their own food in their own gardens.

Peter Cundall, Presenter of Gardening Australia and conservationist, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Jun 2007 – screen copy held by this website

holy orders

Australia’s environmentally conscious Catholic nuns, brothers and priests want to buy hybrid cars and install solar panels on convents, schools, hospitals and aged care homes to reduce their carbon footprint.

The national body, Catholic Religious Australia, representing 8500 members, plans to negotiate a bulk purchase of hybrid vehicles to replace the religious order’s current car fleets.

The diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes bought a hybrid car two years ago. Bishop Chris Toohey, chairman of Catholic Earthcare, said the car was economical and reliable, but not ideal for long distances.

The hybrid car was very much a personal choice, he said. “When you are passing a road train it gets a bit hairy, and we have to take it all the way to Dubbo to get it serviced.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Jul 2007 – screencopy held by this website

ban progress!

The boom in flatscreen television could be fuelling global warming more than official estimates, scientists have warned.

Experts in California estimate that production of a powerful greenhouse gas used in their production has hit 4,000 tonnes a year – enough to match the annual carbon dioxide emissions of Austria.

Professor Michael Prather from the University of California at Irvine, who came up with the estimate, said that if the entire annual production of NF3 was released into the atmosphere it would have the equivalent effect on the Earth’s climate as 67 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The Telegraph, 2 Jul 2008

exile the cows!

The good news is that our bilbies are finally breeding. The bad news, is that there are only a few hundred of them left on this continent, as opposed to 29 million cows.

To save the bilbies, bettongs, woylies, potoroos, leristas, phascogales and other diminutive creatures that abounded this continent before the arrival of the cow, we might give up our addiction to milk and beef.

Here’s my modest proposal: let’s send this country’s cattle back to where they came from. Land clearing is a key threat to biodiversity, says the Bureau of Statistics. It destroys and degrades the habitat on which native species rely.

Clearing also allows weeds and invasive animals to spread, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and can lead to soil degradation, such as erosion and salinity, which in turn can effect water quality.

Why are we clearing all this forest? To create pasture for cows, mainly. And in return, the cows are killing us. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation has determined that cattle are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Sun Herald (Australia), 16 Nov 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – action plan

shrinking menu

Oysters, lobsters, mussels, sea urchins and abalone could be wiped off the menu by global warming, an Australian scientist warned yesterday.

Jane Williamson, a Macquarie University marine ecologist, made the prediction after discovering that climate change is likely to take a dramatic toll on the ability of sperm from many marine creatures to swim to and fertilise eggs shed in the water.

Even if sperm can find and fertilise the eggs, the probability of their surviving long enough to grow into larvae is likely to plunge.

Scientists have warned that the oceans can no longer cope with the uptake of carbon dioxide, and rising acidity “is an urgent scientific and policy challenge”.

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Aug 2008

can I bend your ear?

Young coral reef fish with misshapen ear bones are more likely to get lost and die, and exposure to warmer waters makes the problem worse, according to a study of fish living around Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Monica Gagliano at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Queensland, and colleagues found that at hatching, just over half of Ambon damselfish had asymmetrical otoliths, or ear bones.

Gagliano says that as-yet-unpublished work shows that exposing adult reef fish to higher water temperatures and increasingly acid water – both of which are associated with global warming – increases the percentage of offspring born with asymmetrical otoliths.

Increased acidification reduces the availability of calcium to be absorbed by fish to make bones.

“And general stress, such as having to regulate their internal pH when it is changing in the water, also seems to affect the development of otoliths in the baby fish,” says Gagliano.

New Scientist, 6 Mar 2008

research back to front

Talk agriculture, greenhouse gases and carbon price, and Richard Eckard immediately destroys one myth about methane emissions from cattle.

“The methane … comes out the front, not the back. We love the acronyms about what comes out the back, but probably less than 2%-5% comes from there. It’s really a burp and breathe out tax,” says Dr Eckard, a lead researcher on greenhouse and climate change in Victorian agriculture.

“Our work is focussing on dietary supplements – feeding the cattle to produce more milk profitably and reduce methane at the same time,” he said.

The research has concentrated on naturally occurring plants that have higher oils.

“A range of oils will work – mineral, vegetable oils, it doesn’t seem to matter what they are – they all have an effect on methane,” Dr Eckard said.

He said their experiments, and a review of similar studies around the world, had shown that with every 1% of oil in the diet, there was a 6% reduction in methane.

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

trout drought!

Global warming is the single greatest threat to the survival of trout in America’s interior west.

If nothing is done to reduce human-produced greenhouse gas emissions — the primary culprit behind global warming — trout habitat throughout the Rocky Mountain region could be reduced by 50 percent or more by the end of the century, bringing fewer opportunities for anglers to enjoy sportfishing and resulting in serious economic consequences for those who depend on the fishing, recreation and tourism industry for their livelihoods.

This July 2008 issue paper by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Montana Trout Unlimited makes clear that we must act now at the national, regional and local levels to reduce our emissions of global warming pollution and adopt other policies that appropriately value healthy rivers, lakes and streams.

The paper also includes recommendations for anglers on how to reduce their impact on trout while fishing.

Natural Resources Defense Council, 18 Jul 2008

in search of squirrels

For people who feel an acute unease about the future of the planet, a small but growing number of psychotherapists now offer a treatment designed to reduce worries as well as carbon footprints: ecopsychology.

But ecopsychology can help patients come to terms with their feelings about the natural world, said Thomas Doherty, who teaches an introductory course to ecopsychology at the Graduate School of Education and Counseling at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.

Dr. Doherty advises clients with global warming anxiety to recognize their concern about climate change and accept the limits of what they can control. He recommends “fasts” from shopping, the news and sending e-mail, while cultivating calmer pursuits like meditation or gardening.

Since she took Dr. Doherty’s ecopsychology class last fall, Angeline Tiamson, a graduate student earning a master’s degree in counseling at Lewis & Clark, has embarked on a new way of thinking.

When she is on campus, she drifts to the low, wide trunk of an old black walnut tree, a spot she found during a nature exercise for class.

She sits there for several minutes: no iPod, no cellphone, no laptop. She rubs her hand over the bark, and sniffs the empty shells left behind by squirrels.

“You can’t have a good relationship with anything if you are afraid or feel guilty,” Ms. Tiamson said. “You have to love it first.” New York Times, 16 Feb 2008

tourism shake-up

An international team of economists predict that by the end of the century the expected rise in temperature will make many current tourist hot spots a bit too toasty while making some currently chilly places warm enough to entice fair-weather travelers.

“Climate change would shift patterns of tourism towards higher altitudes and latitudes, tourism may double in colder countries and fall by 20 percent in warmer countries….For some countries international tourism may treble whereas for others it may be cut in half,” write researchers Andrea Bigano of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Milan, Italy, Jacqueline M. Hamilton of Hamburg University and Richard S.J. Tol of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin.

The biggest winners: Canada, which they predict will experience a 220 percent increase in international arrivals by 2100, Russia (174 percent) and Mongolia (122 percent). The biggest losers: Mauritania, where international arrivals will drop by 60 percent, Mali (-59 percent) and Bahrain (-58 percent).

“Currently popular destinations that are high up there include Macau (-48 percent), Aruba (-42 percent) and Jamaica (-39 percent),” Tol said in an e-mail.

Pew Research Centre, 17 Aug 2006

a small fish in a big pond

Fish have lost half their average body mass and smaller species are making up a larger proportion of European fish stocks as a result of global warming, a study has found.

It’s huge, said study author Martin Daufresne of the Cemagref Public Agricultural and Environmental Research Institute in Lyon, France.

Size is a fundamental characteristic that is linked to a number of biological functions, such as fecundity — the capacity to reproduce.

While commercial and recreational fishing did impact some of the fisheries studied, it “cannot be considered as the unique trigger” for the changes in size, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found.

Although not negating the role of other factors, our study provides strong evidence that temperature actually plays a major role in driving changes in the size structure of populations and communities, the study concluded. Heat Is Online, – originally Discover.com 20 Jul 2009

not to be sneezed at

As the world warms, some regions may become more humid and other regions drier. With these changes it is highly likely that we are going to see an increase in pollens, fungal spores and dust in the air, triggering an increase in the number and severity of asthma attacks.

This may also mean an increase in the number of asthma sufferers. Patients with persistent asthma need to talk to their doctor about managing their condition effectively and not just its symptoms.

While the effects of climate change may be unpredictable and potentially frightening for most asthmatics, they should take their regular preventer therapy and be ready with their asthma action plans when things go wrong.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 12 May 2007 – screen copy held by this website

just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – it is!

Rising ocean temperatures caused by global warming could make sharks significantly smaller and less aggressive, according to new research  carried out by Australian marine biologists.

“Warmer waters and ocean acidification will have major detrimental effects on sharks’ ability to meet their energy demands, with the effects likely to cascade through entire ecosystems,” said the study’s lead author, associate professor Ivan Nagelkerken.

“In warmer water sharks are hungrier, but with increased CO2 they won’t be able to find their food. With reduced ability to hunt, sharks will no longer be able to exert the same control over the marine food webs, which is essential for maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems.”

The Independent, 12 Nov 2015

it’s a bear eat bear world!

A new article in the journal Arctic suggests that polar bear cannibalism — typically the predation of small bears or cubs by much larger adult males — is either much more commonplace than previously thought, or has lately become more common.

The scientists are asking: are polar bears more often resorting to cannibalism because of increased hunger and desperation, or are we simply more frequently observing a behavior that has always existed?

They say it’s an important question to answer, because it will reveal whether or not the Svalbard polar bear population has started to feel the heat from climate change.

LiveScience, 15 Dec 2011