gentoo leads chinstraps!

Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University studied breeding patterns of three species of Antarctic penguins: the Adélie, chinstrap, and gentoo.

While the Adélie and chinstrap migrate to the Western Antarctic Peninsula to breed every year, the gentoos are year-round residents. Because the Antarctic is one of the world’s most rapidly warming regions, Lynch hypothesized that these environmental changes would affect penguins’ reproduction.

She was right: Warmer temperatures have resulted in dwindling Adélie and chinstrap populations. The gentoos, however, are able to adapt to increased temperatures better since they live in the Peninsula year-round.

They’re doing it and doing it and doing it well — because they’ve been able to shift their breeding cycle earlier, their populations are actually growing.

Grist, 22 Mar 2012

no link too tenuous!

Well, new scientific research is mounting that could prove to be the tipping point. It just got way too personal.

Yes, early data suggests that global warming makes you fat. If anything could tip the scales, this could be it. Admittedly, the research is early and thin. But here’s how it goes.

Danish researchers were mapping the lifestyles of thousands of Danes in the MONICA studies related to cardiovascular health and obesity.

Lars-Georg Hersoug stumbled on a weird anomaly. Over a 22-year period, both thin and fat people put on weight, and the increase was proportionally the same. CO2 appears to make our blood more acidic, which influences our brain to want to eat more.

Hersoug surmised that excess CO2 in the atmosphere might be affecting hormones in the brain known as orexin neurons. Orexins stimulate eating, wakefulness and energy expenditure.

Huffington Post, 20 Nov 2014

if only they’d known about climate change in 1787!

Who (you might ask) is David Brearley?

Brearley plays a critical, and entirely accidental, role in climate change because of his position as the chair of the Committee on Postponed Parts within the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

The committee opted for a middle ground solution – an electoral college that would vote on behalf of the citizens, but which would be populated based on the number of congressional seats assigned to each State in the Union.

It is this solution, brilliant at the time, that leads us to Brearley’s legacy on climate change. Because over the course of the last 200 plus years, the electoral college, which provides for stronger voting power per person in more rural and less populated states, has elected four U.S. presidents who clearly lost the popular vote (1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016).

Two of those elections have occurred during the period in which we have known about the causes and impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change and in both cases, the impacts of those elections have very likely had profound impacts on our actions to address the challenge.

Washington Post, 19 Dec 2016

thanks to ddh

Flagship calls for planned retreat

The top government scientist leading Australia’s efforts to adapt to climate change has warned that some coastal communities will have to be abandoned in a “planned retreat” because of global warming.

Dr Andrew Ash, who directs the CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship program, said while some vulnerable coastal communities coud be protected by sea walls and levees, “there are going to be areas where that is not physically possible or it’s not cost effective to introduce any engineering solution and planned retreat becomes the only option.”

The Age (Australia), 23 Mar 2009 – screen copy held by this website

fuzzy maths

The thawing of permafrost in one region of the Arctic will cause damage worth $65 trillion, or 80 per cent of the entire global economy last year, new research suggests.

According to a UN report released last year, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost, large-scale and irreversible thawing is already under way.

Under business-as-usual scenarios, in which nations continue to emit greenhouse gases at present rates, the total damage bill would be the equivalent of about $65 trillion, the paper said. This is about 80 per cent of the entire 2012 global economy.

If the world switched to a low-emissions path, the cost would be delayed somewhat and would end up being about $40 trillion.

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Jul 2013

the incredible shrinking winter!

Peter Atkinson, professor of geography at the University of Southampton, examined satellite images of vegetation across the northern hemisphere from the past 25 years and found signs winter was being shrunk.

Earlier this month, supermarkets Waitrose and Tesco both announced that English strawberries were ripening early and hitting the shelves a week earlier than last year.

“There is much speculation about whether our seasons are changing and if so, whether this is linked to climate change. Our study is another significant piece of the puzzle, which may ultimately answer this question,” Prof Atkinson said.

Illawarra Mercury 29 Mar 2014 – screencopy held by this website

we’re the problem!

People are doing this. Let’s be clear about it. It’s not some natural phenomenon, like an earthquake or a volcanic eruption. It’s the actions of Homo sapiens.

What we are witnessing is a fundamental clash between the species, and the planet on which he lives, which is going to worsen steadily, and the more closely you observe it – or at least, the more closely I have observed it, over the past 15 years – the more I have thought that there is something fundamentally wrong with Homo sapiens himself.

Man seems to be Earth’s problem child.

Michel Mccarthy resigning as environmental editor of The Independent 29 Mar 2013

scientific analysis

In the mid-1980s, more than 4,000 moose roamed the forests and bogs of northwestern Minnesota. Today, there are probably fewer than 100.

Mike Schrage, a wildlife biologist with the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, says researchers believe a warming climate might be causing moose to get sick.

“I do think global warming is having an impact on our moose,” said Schrage.

“I think it gets complicated between climate change and a dead moose. Because I don’t think I’m ever going to walk up to a moose carcass and be able to say, oh, it died of climate change. I think there’s a lot that happens in between.”

MPR News, 25 Mar 2008

if they can do it, why can’t we?


So why don’t we see advanced civilizations swarming across the Universe? One problem may be climate change. It is not that advanced civilizations always destroy themselves by over-heating their biospheres (although that is a possibility).

Instead, because stars become brighter as they age, most planets with an initially life-friendly climate will become uninhabitably hot long before intelligent life emerges. Other inhabited planets in the Universe must also have found ways to prevent global warming.

Watery worlds suitable for life will have climates that, like the Earth, are highly sensitive to changing circumstances.

The repeated canceling of star-induced warming by “geobiological” cooling, required to keep such planets habitable, will have needed many coincidences, and the vast majority of such planets will have run out of luck long before sentient beings evolved. However, the Universe is immense, and a few rare worlds will have had the necessary good fortune.

It may just be that Earth is one of those lucky planets—a precious, fragile jewel in space. So, perhaps inevitably, climate change will remain a bane of the continued existence of life on such planets. ars technica, 10 Jun 2014

time to turn over a new…

This month scientists will publish research that links a decline in the nutritional quality of leaves eaten by colobus monkeys in Uganda to changes in climate over the past 30 years.

“We know if we go out and measure leaves and find patches that have a lot of protein to fibre, that’s good territory for monkeys,” said Professor Raubenheimer, from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

“There are a number of experiments on plants showing that an increase in temperature and moisture has an impact on the fibre concentration. Females deprived of a balanced diet are less fertile and give birth to smaller young. The population birth rate is slowed, so you get a decline in population,” he said.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Sep 2014

just when you thought it was safe …

There have been seven shark attacks in North Carolina since June 11. This is already more than last year, when the state saw four attacks.

Although Frank J. Schwartz, a shark biologist with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says there’s too much natural variability in weather cycles to blame the recent shark attacks on global warming, George H. Burgess, the director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History. says the link is plausible.

“Clearly global climate change is a reality and it has resulted in warmer temperatures in certain places at certain times,” says Burgess. “As warming is expected to increase, it will likely bring more sharks farther north and entice more people to get into the water, which will lead to more bites.”

National Geographic, 29 Jun 2015

 

 

with friends like these…

Any number of people offer views on the politics of climate change. Few cut to the heart of the issue like Harvard don Daniel Gilbert.

“Scientists lament the fact that global warming is happening so fast. The fact is, it’s not happening fast enough,” he said in a speeech last year.

Gilbert does not believe climate change is slow, nor does he want to see the world slide quickly into environmental catastrophe.

But he has some understanding of why people with the capacity to act, including leaders in Canberra and elsewhere, appear hamstrung when faced with the enormity of the threat of climatic disaster.

A respected psychologist, he says part of the reason most people fail to get worked up about climte change is our sensitivity to change; if something moves dramatically overnight we are alert and possibly alarmed, but if it is a gradual shift averaged across the globe over decades, it is much harder to get angry.

The Age (Australia), 9 Mar 2009 – screen copy held by this website

speak for yourself!

The lesson is that if we continue with activities which destroy our environment and undermine the conditions for our own survival, we are the virus. Making the change needed to avoid that fate is perhaps the greatest challenge we have ever faced. (Michael Meacher is environment minister. This article is based on a lecture he will deliver today at Newcastle University)

The Guardian, 14/2/03

a butterfly’s wings flapping

At this week’s launch of a major report scrutinising the impact of corporate sustainability on a company’s earnings IAG chief executive Michael Hawker set out in no uncertain terms how small changes in the weather directly affect the cost of insurance premiums.

Over the past 140 years, the cost and frequency of insurance claims have been steadily rising in line with global temperatures, Mr Hawker said.

A 1 to 2.2 degrees celsius rise in temperatures can have a significant impact on the ferocity of natural disasters. There is a pattern; they are weather related, they are expensive and we pay for that in our [insurance] premiums, he said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Sep 2003

no more bats

White ash has been the tree of choice for baseball bat manufacturers for decades, due to having the specific balance of weight and strength that you can’t get without resorting to aluminum bats.

Anyway, thanks to changing climates, ash forests are now facing not just a change in temperature which can affect the quality and flexibility of the wood, making them less ideal for bats, but also the ash borer beetle, a little son-of-a-bitch bug that really likes to eat trees.

The beetles are originally for Asia, but some say changing climate has allowed them to adapt nicely to North America, where in five years they managed to destroy 25 million trees.
Cracked, 17 Jan 2010

surprise finding – air conditioning makes people cooler!

Global warming has been under way for at least 25 years, and there is strong evidence that it is largely man-made and is continuing.

In recent years, temperature and mortality data from several countries shows that cold-related deaths in each age group are falling in most countries. Much of that was due to rising climatic temperature and better home heating.

A surprising finding is that the heat-related mortality rate has stabilized or fallen, despite rising temperatures. Air conditioning has been a major factor in the United States.

Heat-related deaths there are lower among people with air conditioning. An extension of air conditioning was accompanied by the virtual disappearance of heat-related death in North Carolina, despite summers becoming hotter.

The Impact of Global Warming on Health and Mortality, W. R. Keatinge, MA, MB, BCHIR, PHD, FRCP; G. C. Donaldson, BA, PHD – Medscape 2004

the logic of climate change

Britain may be in the grip of the coldest winter for 30 years and grappling with up to a foot of snow in some places but the extreme weather is entirely consistent with global warming, claim scientists.

“Even though this is quite a cold winter by recent standards it is still perfectly consistent with predictions for global warming,” said Dr Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics group at Department of Physics, University of Oxford.

“If it wasn’t for global warming this cold snap would happen much more regularly. What is interesting is that we are now surprised by this kind of weather. I doubt we would have been in the 1950s because it was much more common.”

The Telegraph (UK), 3 Feb 2009

time’s nearly up!

A major new report on global warming slated to be released Friday raises new fears that the earth’s climate is changing faster than anyone thought possible.

Today, 500 of the world’s top scientists are meeting behind closed doors to finish a landmark report on global warming, and the picture they paint is not pretty.

They say significant changes in the climate could start happening within the next 10 years.

“We’re hoping that it will convince people, you know, that climate change is real,” said Kenneth Denman, co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The report predicts an increase in heat waves, intense tropical storms and hurricanes, a sharp rise in sea level and continued melting of the world’s snow and glaciers.

abcnews, 30 Jan 2007

whales wither away

small_whale

Scientists on the US Pacific coast are increasingly observing emaciated gray whales in what they fear is a sign that global warming is wreaking havoc in the whales’ Bering Sea summer feeding grounds.

The gray whales are migrating later, not going as far north, and are producing fewer calves, Steven Swartz, head researcher with the National Marine Fisheries Service told AFP.

Swartz, who with his team meticulously photograph and identify the migrating whales, estimates that at least ten percent of the population is seriously skinny.

Instead of looking plump coming off the summer months, they have noticeable depressions behind the head, with scapulas visible through the skin, and concave sections above the tail, he added. “This is enough to cause alarm.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Jul 2007

scientist demonstrates he has too much spare time!

Humans may evolve bizarre features such as webbed feet and eyes like cats in response to changing environments, a scientist claims today.

Experts calculated how our physical appearance could change under a number of scenarios, including a ‘water world’ if melting ice caps cause rising sea levels.

To adapt to a ‘water world’, Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Kent, expects humans would develop webbed hands and eyes like those of cats to help us see in the poor lighting conditions underwater.

We would also retain a layer of baby fat into adulthood as an insulator for spending long periods submerged. Regular foraging in shallow waters could lead us to develop artificial ‘gills’ to help us breathe, extracting oxygen from the water and delivering it to the bloodstream.

This would also lead to our lung capacity becoming greatly reduced, and our rib cages shrinking.

The Daily Mail, 13 Jan 2016

Arabidopsis thaliana on the move!

New research from the University of British Columbia suggests evolution is a driving mechanism behind plant migration, and that scientists may be underestimating how quickly species can move.

The study, published today in the journal Science, builds on previous research that has shown some plants and animals are moving farther north or to higher altitudes in an effort to escape rising global average temperatures due to climate change.

We know from previous research that evolution might play a role in how fast a species can move across a region or continent, said Jennifer Williams, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor in UBC’s department of geography.

“But what our study suggests is that evolution is not only a factor in movement, but that it can, in fact, accelerate the spread, and can do so predictably.”

For the study, researchers used a small flowering plant (Arabidopsis thaliana), a common model organism in plant biology, to test the role of evolution in plant migration. The findings suggest that evolution accelerates the speed of migration, said Williams.

Science Daily, 28 Jul 2016

bombshell report

bombshell_report

Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say. Global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, according to a devastating new study which predicts that one-third of its trees will be killed by even modest temperature rises.

Tim Lenton, a climate expert at the University of East Anglia, called the study, presented at a global warming conference in Copenhagen today , a “bombshell”.

He said: “When I was young I thought chopping down the trees would destroy the forest but now it seems that climate change will deliver the killer blow.”

The Guardian, 12 Mar 2009

emotional maelstrom!

“How climate change makes me feel. I feel a maelstrom of emotions. I am exasperated. Exasperated no one is listening. I am frustrated. Frustrated we are not solving the problem. I am anxious.

Anxious that we start acting now. I am perplexed. Perplexed that the urgency is not appreciated. I am dumbfounded. Dumbfounded by our inaction. I am distressed. Distressed we are changing our planet.

I am upset. Upset for what our inaction will mean for all life. I am annoyed. Annoyed with the media’s portrayal of the science.

I am angry. Angry that vested interests bias the debate. I am infuriated. Infuriated we are destroying our planet. But most of all I am apprehensive. Apprehensive about our children’s future.”

– Associate Professor Anthony J. Richardson Climate Change Ecologist The University of Queensland –

Is This How You Feel? Website – How scientists feel

discovery – correlation and causation both start with the same letter!

“How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today – which is what we expect later this century – sea levels were 25m higher.

So that is what we can look forward to if we don’t act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this.

But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes. I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself.” – Jim Hansen –

The Independent, 17 Feb 2006

early opener

“We’re seeing the early signs of climate warming here,” said climatologist Dan Cayan of the Scripps Institution in San Diego, assessing California’s vulnerability. “We’re very worried about climate warming.”

“The warming attacks in different ways. Blossoms may open weeks too soon, before insects arrive to pollinate them, and fruit trees may produce weaker crops because there are fewer cool nights, which the trees need for recovering between harvests.”

ABCnews, 5 Aug 2006

magpies warbling and swooping earlier!

Are Australian magpies warbling and swooping earlier than ever before? Probably.

Is the invasive Asian house gecko making its way south from Darwin? Possibly.

Is Nemo, the clown fish, partying off the coast of Sydney all year round instead of returning to tropical waters in winter? Scientists think so.

More than 60,000 observations made by Australian citizen scientists are feeding answers to these questions and hundreds more into a database run by ClimateWatch, which is run by the Smithsonian Institution’s Earthwatch Institute.

Since 2009, 13,000 citizen scientists have registered to make observations on ClimateWatch’s app and website. Their records of 185 species of plants and animals are starting to flower and bear fruit, albeit unripened.

ClimateWatch’s program manager Linden Ashcroft said the species were chosen for their susceptibility to changes in rain and temperature. They may flower or start breeding earlier, change migrating patterns or move to different habitats to seek the right temperatures and conditions for their species. They are also common and easy to identify.

“People notice this stuff in their day-to-day life,” Dr Ashcroft said. “They think, ‘That tree flowered earlier’ or, ‘That bird I haven’t seen it before’, but now they are realising how important that information is,” she said.

The Age, 9 Aug 2014

here be monsters!

squid_sailing_shipWe often hear about all of the different creatures out there negatively affected by climate change and global warming.

However, there are actually some including the squid which seem to benefit from it. For example their bodies are able to process food easier when the water is warmer.

As a result the squid will grow to be larger than otherwise.

This is going to be significant in their ability to survive overall out there against predators. The smaller a squid is the more likely it will be consumed. This can lead to more squid due to them becoming mature and having offspring before they become food for something else.
Squid World

Make your vote count!

A world people’s referendum on climate change will be held in April 2011 for the earth’s peoples to decide how to address this global problem.

Although it is hoped that some states will cooperate, the participation of governments will not be essential to the referendum, as civil society organizations are to plan it according to their own lights and the traditions and customs of each local area.

This was one of the final resolutions Thursday at the close of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba.

Cochabamba Moots World Referendum On Climate Change, By Franz Chávez – Countercurrentsorg 23 Apr 2010

while you still can, peel me a …

Devastating weather has lead to an extreme drop in global wine production. According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine, wine production has fallen by 5 percent in comparison to 2015. From South Africa to France, crops are damaged.

Many believe that global warming is the cause of this wild weather that directly affects wine-production. The biggest contributing factor to global warming comes from the use of man-made machinery that emits Carbon Dioxide.

The world’s largest wine-producing nations have recently been taking some pretty big losses. Based on Forbes.com, France’s wine production has dropped by 12 percent while Portugal’s dropped by 20 percent.

Fortunately, not all major wine-producing countries dipped. The United States’ production rose by 2 percent, while New Zealand and Australia also saw a gain of 5 percent. Wine production in 2016 is estimated at about about 6.84 billion gallons of wine, which sounds like a lot.

But, if this wild weather continues, the wine industry may be doomed. So, drink up while you can.

Circa, 27 Oct 2016

thanks to ddh

European snails leave others in the shade!

snailAmong the most solid examples of actual evolution in response to climate change is a shift in the proportion of European larger banded snails (Cepaea nemoralis) with light colored shells.

Shell color is genetic, and the genes responsible are known. It has been shown that, in a given environment, snails with light colored shells have a lower body temperature than those with dark colored shells.

And light colored shells are becoming more prevalent over time in the Netherlands, even in wooded, shady environments where you might expect dark shells to dominate.

National Geographic, 6 May 2014

eco-anxiety defined!

“My anxiety attacks began two summers ago. They were mild at first, a low-level unease. But over a period of months they grew steadily worse, morphing into full-fledged fits of panic. I was a wreck.

The sight of an idling car, heat-trapping carbon dioxide spewing from its tailpipe, would send me into an hours-long panic, complete with shaking, the sweats, and staring off into space while others conversed around me.

The same thing happened on overly warm days, like those 60-degree ones here in the Big Apple last January. The culprit, I realized, was all the reporting I’d been doing on global warming—that, and the emotional impact of becoming a first-time parent.

I had come down with a severe case of eco-anxiety—a chronic fear of the environmental future.”

mother nature network, 8 Apr 2009

the loblolly pine breaks ranks!

Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, predicted to adversely affect the environment and humans, may help one species in time of need: the loblolly pine.

In an experiment where carbon dioxide levels were elevated to those predicted for 2050, one and a half times today’s levels, scientists found that these trees were able to withstand ice storms much better than those growing under current carbon dioxide levels.

“Before the storm, I was absolutely certain the pines would be more susceptible to ice damage under elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide,” said study participant Ram Oren, an ecology professor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

“My impressions were absolutely wrong. Instead of increasing the sensitivity to ice-storm damage, carbon dioxide decreased the sensitivity.”

Live Science, 18 Aug 2006

a fish without a shell

fish_shell
Greenhouse gases are turning the oceans acidic decades earlier than predicted with potentially catastrophic consequences for marine life, scientists have warned. The acid in sea water is powerful enough to dissolve the shells of sea creatures, they said.

An American team has found evidence that an acidic “tipping point” has been reached on the continental shelf along the west coast of North America.

This is potentially very bad news, said Paul Halloran, of Oxford University, an expert in the field. “The impact on tourism and fisheries may have huge economic consequences.”

The Telegraph (UK), 23 May 2008

Why didn’t we figure this out before?

Weatherwatch: Did warm weather cause the Titanic disaster?

But in fact the catastrophe may have been set in motion by a warm, wet year over Greenland in 1908, resulting in greater snow accumulation.

Writing in the journal Weather, Grant Bigg and David Wilton of Sheffield University explain how the snow soaked through cracks in the ice sheet, encouraging excess iceberg calving over the following few years.

Soberingly, global warming has increased iceberg hazard greatly in recent decades, making years like 1912 more the norm than the exception.

The Guardian, 28 Apr 2014

power beef

A Japanese study showed that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a global warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2).

It also releases fertilising compounds equivalent to 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 megajoules of energy (Animal Science Journal, DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00457.x).

In other words, a kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

Time for change, 23 Sep 2008

no more dogs chasing cars!

The German upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, passed a resolution calling for a ban on internal combustion engines by 2030.

No, this doesn’t mean someone is going to come to your driveway under the cover of night and take your car away. The cross-party resolution wants the EU Commission in Brussels to implement a ban that would make sure that only zero-emission vehicles were being sold by 2030.

A ban on internal combustion engines is expected to have an impact on the direction of the auto industry, since Germany does have the fourth largest automaking industry in the world.

“If the Paris agreement to curb climate-warming emissions is to be taken seriously, no new combustion engine cars should be allowed on roads after 2030,” said Greens party lawmaker Oliver Krischer to Der Spiegel.

Futurism, 10 Oct 2016

thanks to ddh

BYO rock or tree bark!

Eco-anxiety is real, according to some psychologists, and it can really stress you out.

As one eco-anxious reporter described it, “The sight of an idling car, heat-trapping carbon dioxide spewing from the tailpipe, would send me into an hours-long panic, complete with shaking, the sweats, and staring off into space while others conversed around me”

We can’t even escape at the movies. In his 2006 Oscar-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Vice President Al Gore warned us that we might be a mere decade away from a global environmental disaster.

It was really time to be afraid — very afraid. Therapists who treat eco-anxiety say their patients report a number of general anxiety symptoms, including loss of appetite, irritability, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, unexplained weakness and actual physical pain.

Some people say they cry uncontrollably at the thought of the polar ice caps melting or of yet another species facing extinction. So what do you do if you are suffering from eco-anxiety? Some people see an eco-therapist.

According to the International Community for Ecopsychology, there are almost 150 ecopsychology practitioners around the world [source: Ecopsychology]. More colleges and universities, like Naropa University in Boulder, Colo., and Prescott College in Tucson, Ariz., have started offering ecopsychology as a major, so the number of trained eco-therapists is likely to grow.

Eco-therapists charge up to $250 an hour to diagnose the cause of your worries and offer solutions.

Some eco-therapists advise their patients to get outside and feel closer to nature, while others recommend that patients bring nature closer to them by carrying around a rock or piece of tree bark.

Stephanie Watson, “How Eco-anxiety Works” 15 October 2008. HowStuffWorks.com.

swings & roundabouts

New Zealand could lose its unenviable reputation as the skin-cancer centre of the world thanks to climate change. However, there may be cause for celebration, with some scientists believing that by the second half of this century the rate will be falling.

Scientists think that climate change will speed up a recovery of the ozone layer over much of the world and block out more of the damaging UV rays.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Greg Bodeker said the peak in the skin-cancer rate was expected about 2040. Beyond that, increased ozone concentrations were likely to take New Zealand and the rate back to where it was in the 1950s or 60s.

“It’s a good story, absolutely. We are already seeing ozone recovery over New Zealand,” Bodeker said.

Stuff.co.nz, 1/12/08

…not for all the tea in ….

China’s long-term food security and social stability may be threatened unless the world’s largest grain producer invests more to fight the effects of drought, McKinsey & Co. said in a report Nov. 24.

The country’s corn harvest, the world’s second-largest, plunged by 13 percent to a four-year low this year because of drought, a survey of farmers by Geneva-based SGS SA for Bloomberg showed.

The crops affected would include wheat, corn and rice, Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Meteorological Administration, said in an article published on the agency’s Web site Tuesday.

“By 2050, with extreme conditions, South Asia’s grain output could be cut by 30 percent and with the level of global grain stores falling sharply, it would increase the difficulty of boosting imports,” Zheng said. “Trying to make up the difference of lower output by relying on imports doesn’t look very optimistic.”

China Post, 3 Dec 2009

don’t let the grass grow under your feet!

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

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

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

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

New Scientist, 28 September 2016

thanks to ddh

waiting with bated ……

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

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

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

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

Science Alert, 23 Sep 2016

thanks to ddh

climate change turns fish into lemmings!

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

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

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

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

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Apr 2014

It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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

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

The Guardian, 11 Sep 2016

Save the Buckeye!

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

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

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

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

Fox News, 15 Sep 2008

seemed like a good idea at the time

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

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

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

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

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

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

surprise finding – the carbon market is being rorted!

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

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

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

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

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

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

calling all climate crusaders – cool it!

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

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

Think Progress, 16 Sep 2015