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.
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.”
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.”
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.
6.6.16 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
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
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
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.”
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.
Two 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
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
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.”
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
“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
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, 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
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
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.
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
“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.”
When 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
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.
“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
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 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
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
“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.”
thanks to ddh
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>
Underwater ‘umbrellas’ should be used to protect Great Barrier Reef says report.
Professor Ove Hoegh-Gukdberg of Queensland University, Australia, writing with Greg Rau from the University of California and Elizabeth McLeod from The Nature Conservancy, calls for “unconventional, non-passive methods to conserve marine ecosystems”. Daily Telegraph(UK), 20 Aug 2012
“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
The day will soon come when we shall be roused from our beds, not by the ringing of the alarm clock, but by the rising sea levels slapping us on our slumbering faces. That is how serious global warming is. What makes it worse is that we shall all be so morbidly obese by then we won’t be able to rise from our beds to save ourselves.
There is absolutely, positively no question whatsoever that we are in the midst of a climate change crisis. It is also categorically and undeniably beyond any dispute that it is man-made. Maybe.
The Age (Australia), 13 Nov 2006
The male sea turtle is a rather promiscuous creature, so it suits him to be naturally outnumbered by the female of the species. But the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is wondering if male turtles will be so outnumbered in future the species will fail to breed.
The authority is concerned that global warming will push up the temperature of turtle eggs as they incubate in sand. The warmer the egg, the more likely the hatchling will be female.
“While the natural population can be female-skewed,” says the authority’s species conservation unit manager Dr Kirstin Dobbs, “males obviously play a key role.”
A California anti-immigration group has created a multimedia ad campaign blaming immigrants for climate change and environmental degradation in California.
Californians for Population Stabilization, or CAP, argues that immigrants, legal and illegal, increase their carbon footprint four-fold when they move to the US and “Americanize” their consumption habits, thus exacerbating climate problems.
According to CAP President Diane Hull, “Californians [have] made significant progress in energy conservation over the last couple of decades. However, the progress has been mitigated by massive population growth over the same period, driven by immigration and births to immigrants.”
Triple Pundit, 10 Nov 2009
In what experts say is the first documented evidence of the species “overwintering” here, a solitary swallow has been monitored from November to the end of February in a village near Truro, Cornwall.
Paul Stancliffe, a spokesman for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), called the discovery “incredible”. As further evidence of climate change, volunteers have also recorded “early returns” by many migrants this year, as well as unseasonably early nesting by birds that ordinarily remain here.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Mar 2008
Melbourne Water has encouraged volunteers to record frog calls in their local areas. Armed with digital recorders, a small army of dedicated “frog finders” will lurk at local waterholes to seek out vociferous amphibians.
The annual frog census, now in its ninth year, was launched at Werribee Zoo yesterday as part of World Animal Day. Melbourne Water’s manager of waterways, Chris Chesterfield, said frogs were a key barometer of environmental health but climate change was taking its toll.
Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Oct 2009
In the concrete jungle at the core of a city, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are dominated by the fossil fuels burned by the dense concentrations of cars and buildings.
Boston University researchers now have shown, however, that in metropolitan areas surrounding the city core, plant roots and decomposing organic material in soil give off enough CO2, in a process termed “soil respiration,” to make an unexpectedly great contribution to total emissions.
“When people mulch their landscaped areas or fertilize their lawns, they’re putting out yummy fresh highly decomposable carbon that soil microbes can use,” says Pamela Templer, Associate Professor of Biology. “And that’s stimulating microbial growth and loss of CO2 out of these urban soils.”
thanks to ddh
The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (UK) prohibit discrimination in the workplace by reason of any religion or belief. The regulations were amended in 2007, so that “belief” now means “any religious or philosophical belief”.
Tim Nicholson claimed that he was dismissed from his position because of his extremely strongly held belief that it is necessary to significantly reduce carbon emissions in order to avoid a global catastrophe.
In today’s ruling, Mr Justice Michael Burton decided that: “A belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperatives, is capable if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations.”
“Under those regulations it is unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their religious or philosophical beliefs.”
“Anzac Day, April 25, is a temperature marker for me because for many years I’ve risen at much the same time, for more than a decade as a reporter to cover the dawn services and later because I have become, since my misspent 20s, an early riser.”
“It is beyond doubt that Anzac Days these days are not as cold as they used to be. As a young reporter out and about at six on Anzac Day morning I’d be wearing every piece of warm clothing I could find and long costs were common, but the change has been such that these days the most that’s required is a light jacket and if coats are worn it’s for formal reasons.”
Jeff Corbett, reporter, Newcaste Herald (Australia), 5 Jun 2007 – screen copy held by this website
According to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, warmer weather means less “coital frequency.” “Extreme heat leads to a sizable fall in births,” the study says.
“Temperature extremes could affect coital frequency. It could affect hormone levels and sex drives. Alternatively, high temperatures may adversely affect reproductive health or semen quality on the male side or ovulation on the female side,” say the three economists from Tulane University, University of California and University of Central Florida who wrote the paper.
In the paper, Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks, Climate Change and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates, the researchers predict that “increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century.”
Looking at 80 years of U.S. fertility and temperature data, they found that “additional days above 80 degrees Fahrenheit cause a large decline in birth rates approximately eight to 10 months later.” And these would-be parents often do not “make up for lost time in subsequent, cooler months,” reports Bloomberg.
EcoWatch, 4 Nov 2015
thanks to Peter
All signs point to a pretty terrifying future for the world if scientists’ warnings about climate change continue to fall on deaf ears. But now, it looks like our inability to address climate change adequately might cost us one of the world’s most pure, innocent, and wonderful pleasures: chocolate.
According to Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company, our growing love for chocolate might mean “a potential cocoa shortage by 2020.” But the shortage isn’t just about the world going crazy for chocolate — it also has a lot to do with climate change…. Higher temperatures mean that more water evaporates into the air from leaves and earth, leaving less behind for cocoa trees — a process called “evapotranspiration.”
Salon, 20 Nov 2014
thanks to Peter