climate change causes mixed metaphors!

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

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

missed it by that much!

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

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

surprise, surprise!

Carbon offsets. The way this works is that you pay someone else to take action – by planting trees or investing in renewable energy sources – that will reduce greenhouse gases. That action acts as a proxy for your own emission cuts.

However, research by the University of NSW found many of the carbon certificates issued don’t represent additional cuts in emissions. In other words, some firms are being rewarded for doing things they would have done regardless of the financial incentive offered by the scheme.

For example, government agency, Forests NSW, generates certificates from its forests and sells the certificates to offset companies who then sell them to the public. But Forest NSW hasn’t planted any additional trees.
Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Mar 2007 – screen copy held by this website

ban trees, plants and soil!

Scientists at Bristol University in Britain say a recent surge in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is due to green house gas escaping from trees, plants and soils.

Global warming was making vegetation less able to absorb carbon pumped out by humans, such a shift could worsen predictions of the UN’s panel on Climate Change, which has warned there is less than a decade in which to tackle emissions to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Measurements of carbon dioxide in air samples show unusually high levels in four of the past five years.
The Sydney Sun Herald, 13 May 2007 – screen copy held by this website

help the helmeted honeyeater!

Drought could be threatening Victoria’s state bird emblem, the endangered helmeted honeyeater, with research showing a “significant correlation” between declining rainfall and reduced egg laying.

Bruce Quin, the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s field ornithologist for the helmeted honeyeater, agreed the future of the Victorian bird looked grim. He said the number of breeding pairs at Yellingbo — 50 kilometres east of Melbourne — had fallen to a record low of 11 in the past breeding season, compared with 15 in 1989-90.
The Age (Australia), 20 Apr 2007

over the top

Australia needs a new “industrial revolution” to come up with an effective strategy against global warming, the Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, will tell one of the country’s largest unions this week.

He will tell members of the Autralian Workers Union that climate change has occurred so quickly that the Government needs to think of it as like going to war.

While stopping short of endorsing either party, Professor Falannery’s speech tomorrow says: “We need a government willing to truly lead on the issue, one willing to get on a war footing, and willing to dip into our surplus to help fund a new industrial revolution that will give Australia’s industry and environment a new lease of life.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website

sounds greenish to me

lightbulbThe inefficient standard light bulb could be phased out within three years to save up to 800,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is expected today to announce a commitment to phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2009-10, a world first by a national government.

Colin Goldman, the head of Nelson Industries, a lighting importer, supported the move. Mr Goldman said compact fluorescent bulbs were available that emitted a range of light. “You can get warm white, which is a yellowish light, or natural, which is white, or day-light, which is more blueish.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Feb 2007

a wake up call

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects significant disruption to coffee production as the planet warms.

While some places might become more suitable to grow coffee as the planet warms, the drafts say that in many cases suitable growing land will contract significantly with 2 to 2.5 degrees of warming. An overall decline in good coffee growing areas by 2050 was found in all countries studied.
Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Mar 2014

damselfish in distress!

A study from scientists at James Cook University shows increased carbon dioxide levels impaired the senses of spiny damselfish, which live in the Great Barrier Reef.

Fish exposed to higher carbon dioxide levels – which are expected to increase in the oceans for several decades – showed impaired cognitive function, learning difficulties, slowed visual capacity and altered sense of smell and sound.

The damselfish also lose their ability to recognise threats, including the smells of predators when exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide – and will even become attracted to them instead. Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Oct 2014

like cats on a hot tin roof

When Kristina Vesk started working at the Cat Protection Society of NSW in 2006, she rarely saw kittens in winter. Now warmer weather means cats are breeding all year round, increasing the numbers of unwanted kittens and the threat to native wildlife from strays and feral cats.

Ms Vesk, the society’s chief executive, said there used to be weeks from June to September when the shelter saw very few, if any, kittens. But with the climate changing and temperatures rising, it seems cats are increasingly on heat.

“For the past three years, I don’t think we’ve experienced a full week at any time of year where we don’t have at least a couple of kittens in our care,” Ms Vesk said. “Kitten ‘season’ has grown longer and longer as we keep having … enough warm and sunny days in winter that make cats think it’s a good time to start breeding.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Feb 2016

thanks to ddh

dog day afternoons

Leading pet behaviourists told The Independent that the number of depressed and unsettled dogs they have seen in recent months is unprecedented. And they suggested that the spate of wet winters could be at the root of the problem, as owners cut down on the daily walks that are crucial to keeping dogs’ spirits up.

“I’ve been working with dogs for more than 20 years and I can’t remember a time when they’ve been this bored. I tend to see boredom in bursts but I’m seeing it chronically this winter,” said Carolyn Menteith, a dog behaviourist who was named Britain’s Instructor of the Year in 2015.

She – like many scientists and meteorologists – puts this down to climate change and expects to see more bored dogs in the future as global warming unleashes increasingly frequent and intense bouts of winter rainfall.
The Independent, 5 Feb 2016

thanks to ddh

if you try hard enough everything can be about climate change

“Scholars increasingly recognize the magnitude of human impacts on planet Earth, some are even ready to define a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene,” said anthropologist and fire expert Christopher I. Roos, an associate professor at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and a co-author on the research.

“But it is an open question as to when that epoch began,” said Roos. “One argument suggests that indigenous population collapse in the Americas resulted in a reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of forest regrowth in the early colonial period. Until now the evidence has been fairly ambiguous. Our results indicate that high-resolution chronologies of human populations, forests and fires are needed to evaluate these claims.”

“A contentious issue in American Indian history, scientists and historians for decades have debated how many Native Americans died and when it occurred. With awareness of global warming and interdisciplinary interest in the possible antiquity of the Anthropocene, resolution of that debate may now be relevant for contemporary human-caused environmental problems,” Roos said.

SMU Research, 25 Jan 2016

thanks to ddh

koalas the new canary in the coalmine?

The koala could soon be even more endangered than at present, if it turns out that climate change alters the nutritional value of the only food it can eat—Eucalypt leaves.

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Neilson from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences from University of Copenhagen has received a $5 million grant from the Villum Young Investigator Program for the search of how the chemical structure of the leaves is disrupted.

“We are going to investigate how two distinct results of climate change, drought and elevated CO2 levels, affect the balance between nutrient and toxicant content of the Eucalypt leaves and how this affects the Koala. Eucalypt leaves are highly toxic and the koala needs to sleep or rest for 20 hours a day to efficiently detoxify the poisonous components and gain sufficient energy from their diet.”

“Therefore, the huge amount of energy spent on detoxification is only just about made up by the nutritional value. Any shift in the eucalypt chemistry caused by climate changes may alter the balance of nutritional value and toxicity, and impact koala survival”, says Assistant Professor Elizabeth Neilson.

Phys.org, 3 Feb 2016

thanks to ddh

smaller babblers and warblers

Australian birds are getting smaller and global warming is probably to blame, new research suggests.

Chief researcher Janet Gardner, from the ANU’s research school of biology, said the results reflected that animals tended to be smaller in warmer climates.

Dr Gardner said the extent of change in the south-eastern Australian species examined, including the grey-crowned babbler, hooded robin and speckled warbler, was surprising.
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Aug 2009

stem cell burger

Lurking in a Petri dish in a laboratory in the Netherlands is an unlikely contender for the future of food. The yellow-pink sliver, the size of a Band-Aid corn plaster, is the state-of-the-art in lab-grown meat, and a milestone on the path to the world’s first burger made from stem cells.

Dr Mark Post, head of physiology at Maastricht University, plans to unveil a complete burger – produced at a cost of more than £200,000 ($A295,000) – in October. The project, funded by a wealthy, anonymous individual, aims to slash the number of cattle farmed for food, and in doing so reduce one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 Feb 2012

teenage mutant female ninja turtles?

Led by Mariana Fuentes, a James Cook University team working up in the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef has been evaluating the various climatic threats facing the green turtles..

Under the worst-case scenarios for climate change – which is pretty much the trajectory we are on – sea-level rise, and the consequent impact on nesting sites, shapes up as the biggest threat for the turtles from now until 2030. But by 2070, the models anticipate sands will have reached a temperature which would bring about a near-complete feminisation of hatchlings.

A few male enclaves are likely to survive where conditions provide some respite from the heat. But the overall picture is grim.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30 Apr 2011

flies falling over in bathtubs

In a world first, Melbourne researchers have shown that many species of fruit fly won’t survive even a modest increase in temperature. Many are close to or beyond their safety margin – and very few have the genetic ability to adapt to climate change.

Dr Vanessa Kellerman, of Monash University’s molecular ecology research group, said the scientists looked at the heat resistance of 100 different species of fruit flies. “This involved putting them in a water bath and slowly ramping up the water temperature over a three- or four-hour period until they started literally falling over.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Sep 2012

climate on steroids

It might even be the case that the mantra chanted after every catastrophic weather event – that it can’t be said to be caused by climate change, but it shows what climate change will do – has become a thing of the past.

“I think the steroids analogy is a useful one,” Professor Steffen, director of the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, said. “Steroids do not create elite athletes – they are already very good athletes. What happens when athletes start taking steroids is that suddenly the same athletes are breaking more records, more often. We are seeing a similar process with the Earth’s climate.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 4 Mar 2013

a bent globe

square_earthBill McGuire, of the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London, and the author of a review in the journal of research in the area, said warming temperatures melted ice from ice sheets and glaciers and increased the amount of water in the oceans.

And the greater weight of the water in the oceans where sea level has risen as ice melts can “bend” the Earth’s crust.
The Telegraph (UK), 19 Apr 2010

the evils of concrete!

re_cementConcreting over front gardens boosts crime, fills up A&E and adds to global warming.

Sealing up the earth, they say, makes more rain water run off into the gutters, bringing an increased risk of flooding. That’s just for a start. Less rainwater percolating through the soil prevents the washing away of pollutants. The soil dries out and causes subsidence.

(note: A&E = Accident and Emergency area of a local hospital)

Telegraph, 24 Jul 2004

Great flying boulders!

flying_boulderAnother danger of climate change: Giant flying boulders?

The idea is that Earth’s climate went through a warming period just over 100,000 years ago that was similar in many ways to the warming now attributed to the actions of man.

And the changes during that period were so catastrophic, they spawned massively powerful superstorms, causing violent ocean waves that simply lifted the boulders from below and deposited them atop this cliff.

If this is true, the effort kicking off in Paris this week to hold the world’s nations to strict climate targets may be even more urgent than most people realize.
Washington Post, 28 Nov 2015, article on James Hansen’s theory about giant flying boulders

thanks to ddh

Bambi dumped!

Bambi
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Tuesday he will integrate climate change analysis and its national security implications into all future foreign policy planning.

“We have to prepare ourselves for the potential social and political consequences that stem from crop failures, water shortages, famine and outbreaks of epidemic disease,” he said.

“And we have to heighten our national security readiness to deal with the possible destruction of vital infrastructure and the mass movement of refugees — particularly in parts of the world that already provide fertile ground for violent extremism and terror.”

“Long story short, climate change isn’t just about Bambi. It’s about us.”
Washington Post, 10 Nov 2015

thanks to ddh

lopsided world

lopsided_earth

Extra precipitation expected as a result of global warming could create a lopsided world in which sea ice increases around the South Pole while the far north melts away.

“Most people have heard of climate change and how rising air temperatures are melting glaciers and sea ice in the Arctic,” said Dylan Powell of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “However, findings from our simulations suggest a counterintuitive phenomenon. Some of the melt in the Arctic may be balanced by increases in sea ice volume in the Antarctic.”
Live Science, 29 Jun 2005

practice yoga and save the world!

elephant_yoga2Indian Prime Minister Says Yoga Could Help Stop Climate Change. India’s new prime minister thinks that his country’s ancient practice could actually help save the world.

According to Grist, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi – who failed to attend the U.N. Climate Summit in 2014 – has a vision for a green future that involves practicing yoga in order to change the way we approach consumption.

“By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day,” Modi told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday.
Inhabitat, 22 Jun 2015

(c) Can Stock Photo

doubt cast on Indian climate change research

dog_bites_manDuring the research we experienced floods in Tianjin, a record-breaking power cut across northern India, record high temperatures in Karachi and conflicts over resources and land use in Indonesia between palm oil companies and Indigenous people.

One researcher was bitten by dog while interviewing people in the Kathmandu valley. More prosaically during one community assessment in Nepal people misled the researcher about having access to television in the hope that they would give them new television sets.
thirdpole.net 8 Oct 2013

(c) Can Stock Photo

India’s incredible shrinking cow!

cow2
Worsening heat, fodder shortages and the threat of drought are forcing many hard-hit dairy farmers in the Anantapur area of India’s southern Kerala state to reduce their herds, experts say. But the solution to the problem is simple and small, livestock experts argue: heat-tolerant dwarf cows.

“It is a fact that the characteristics of the seasons have been altered by the disastrous impacts of climate change, so our lifestyle needs to adapt to using our indigenous flora and fauna,” said K. Ramankutty, a dairy farmer in Palakkad. The dwarf cow is a great weapon against climate change, he said.
Reuters, 29 Jun 2015

(c) Can Stock Photo

data don’t matter

“The presenter was incredulous and asked Folland to repeat his statement so that the entire audience could hear, and Folland again said, ‘The data don’t matter… we’re not basing our recommendations upon the data; we’re basing them upon the climate models.’”
Chris Folland, presentation to climatologists, August 13, 1991, Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming by Patrick Michaels (Cato Institute, 1992), p. 83

see also – Say what?

food poisoning

food_poisoning2

“Britain should be prepared for an increase in food poisoning and upset stomachs as a result of climate change, a meeting will be told today.

Global warming could also create conditions favourable for a return of malaria to the UK, where it was once endemic in Kent, although the disease was very unlikely to gain a foothold,” said Prof Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia in Norwich.
The Telegraph, 5 Jan 2006

The incredible shrinking butterfly!

It has often been demonstrated that the ongoing rapid climate change in the Arctic region is causing substantial change to Arctic ecosystems. Now Danish researchers demonstrate that a warmer Greenland could be bad for its butterflies, becoming smaller under warmer summers.

“Our studies show that males and females follow the same pattern and it is similar in two different species, which suggests that climate plays an important role in determining the body size of butterflies in Northeast Greenland,” says senior scientist Toke T. Hoye, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University.
Science Daily, 7 Oct 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

This means……

Combating climate change should be seen as a “war” that must be won for the sake of future generations, the Prince of Wales said as he received his Global Environmental Citizen award last night. “We should see this as a war we simply have to win. Our successors will pay dearly for our inaction and we surely owe it to them to take urgent steps now.”
The Telegraph, 12 Apr 2008

Hopeful news at last – the U.N. is becoming irrelevant!

After another U.N. climate conference gave only modest results, European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard says the process needs to provide a “substantial answer” to global warming in two years to remain relevant. I think that it has to deliver a substantial answer to climate change in 2015, Hedegaard said. “If it fails to do so, then I think this critical question will be asked by many more.”
USAToday, 24 Nov 2013

too many black sheep in the family

Scientists have discovered milder winters are turning the dark coats of Soay sheep on Hirta in the St Kilda archipelago lighter. Dr Maloney, of the University of Western Australia, said: “Our finding that the proportion of dark-coloured Soay sheep decreased over the past 20 years as ambient temperature increased could be interpreted in several ways, the most parsimonious being that dark colouration has provided an energetic advantage in winter that is being attenuated in a warming climate.
The Telegraph, 22/7/09

They’re invading!…but then again maybe not

Ancient viruses have been lying dormant in Siberian permafrost for centuries. But global warming is about to change that. Scientists have made another massive discovery of ancient (and giant) viruses hidden dormant in the permafrost. As the planet warms, finding these things—and waking them—is going to become more commonplace.

….. the distant possibility does exist, and as more and more polar thawing occurs, our statistical chance of finding something will grow. But Dr. James Van Etten, a professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln thinks that a viral outbreak is a worry you can put out of your head. “Certainly,” he says, “I would not lose any sleep over this issue.” The Daily Beast, 27 Sep 2015

thanks to ddh

it’s all in the mind

This week 2,500 of the world’s leading environmental scientists warned politicians of the drastic global warming which will result if governments fail to reduce greenhouse gases. Scientists have warned that the early arrival of Spring may lift people’s spirits but can also trigger migraines. A study has shown temperature rises increase the number of people requiring hospital treatment for debilitating headaches.
The Telegraph (UK), 14 Mar 2009

to someone with purple-tinted glasses, everything looks purple

The local inhabitants along the river Dyak had a lot to say about climate change….Raimie, our wildlfe guide has also noticed that the heat arrives earlier in the dry season and that the season lasts longer.

One of the consequences of this shift is a greater prevalence of fire, and Raimie mentioned that a year earlier, in neighbouring Kalimantan, 1000 orang-utans burned to death — a significant proportion of the world’s population.

Such catastrophes are reported occasionally in the media but the link with climate change is almost never made.
The Age, 3 Nov 2007, “Seasons of change” an edited extract from An Explorer’s Notebook by Tim Flannery

monkeys on the move

The white-bearded De Brazza’s monkeys were found in the Great Rift Valley, a place they had never been spotted before, Richard Leakey, a prominent white Kenyan credited with ending the slaughter of the nation’s elephants, told Reuters in Nairobi. “That is telling us a lot about the climate change scenarios we are looking at now,” he said. “It puts climate change as the most critical consideration as we plan for the future.”Planet Ark, 1 Nov 2007

Earth gets Royal reprieve!

2009 –
Prince Charles told 200 business leaders in Rio de Janeiro that the world has “less than 100 months” to save the planet.

“As the world’s economy heads further into recession, it would be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture; to commit the sin, as we say in England and if you will pardon the terrible pun, of ‘not seeing the wood for the trees’. For we are, I fear, at a defining moment in the world’s history.”The Telegraph (UK) 12 Mar 2009
………

2015 –
Tackling global warming is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, the Prince of Wales tells today’s Western Morning News. In an exclusive interview before the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive for a three-day visit to the Westcountry on Monday, His Royal Highness warns that we have just 35 years to save the planet from catastrophic climate change.

He says with a global population boost of around three billion by 2050 the 90 trillion dollars of global infrastructure development predicted to take place over the next 20 years must be “as carbon neutral as possible”.Western Morning News, 18 Jul 2015

get in quick

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara warned on Wednesday the 2016 Olympics could be the last Games, with global warming an immediate threat to mankind. “It could be that the 2016 Games are the last Olympics in the history of mankind,” Ishihara told reporters at a Tokyo 2016 press event ahead of the vote.

“Global warming is getting worse. We have to come up with measures without which Olympic Games could not last long. “Scientists have said we have passed the point of no return,” said Ishihara. Reuters, 30 Sep 2009