a timely warning!

A climate researcher yesterday painted a dark picture of an inundated American coastline and the resulting economic impact should the west Antarctic ice sheet melt because of man-caused global warming within the next century.

“It is surely the most dramatic of the possible carbon-induced effects and its initiation cannot be ruled out as a possibility before the end of this century,” said Dr Stephen Schneider of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research at Boulder, Colo. in a report to a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Schneider and Robert Chen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology examined the implications of a 15 to 25 foot rise in ocean levels for the United States.

The nation’s coastline would change markedly. A 25-foot rise in sea level would submerge Savannah, Ga, Charleston S.C., four of the eight Virginia cities with populations over 100,000, one fourth of Delaware and portions of Washington, D.C.

The Palm Beach Post, 8 Jan 1979

thanks to Albert

the perils of climate science

From depression to substance abuse to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, growing bodies of research in the relatively new field of psychology of global warming suggest that climate change will take a pretty heavy toll on the human psyche as storms become more destructive and droughts more prolonged.

For your everyday environmentalist, the emotional stress suffered by a rapidly changing Earth can result in some pretty substantial anxieties.

Two years ago, Camille Parmesan, a professor at Plymouth University and the University of Texas at Austin, became so “professionally depressed” that she questioned abandoning her research in climate change entirely.

“I don’t know of a single scientist that’s not having an emotional reaction to what is being lost,” Parmesan is quoted saying in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2012 report, “The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the United States: And Why the U.S. Mental Health Care System is Not Adequately Prepared.”.

Heat Is Online – originally Madeleine Thomas in Grist.org, Oct. 28, 2014

the English and the Swedes to fade out!

Olympic Athletes Challenged by New Opponent: Global Warming.

Marathon runners, swimmers, volleyball players and even soccer referees will succumb to extreme temperatures and lose concentration during the games, in some cases risking their lives to heatstroke, according to a report released Monday by Observatorio do Clima, a Brazilian civil society group.

“Because of warming, sport will never be the same again,” and fewer records than in previous games are likely to fall as a result, the report said.

The heat is likely to be painful for athletes from colder climates, says Brazilian tennis player Fernando Meligeni. He reckons European players won’t be used to the humidity, which will make them sweat more than usual.

“I believe that the English and the Swedish, for example, will fade out,” Meligeni said, according to the report.

Bloomberg, 8 Aug 2016

thanks to ddh

we feel your pain

Can you relate to this grieving process? If so, you might find solace in the fact that you are not alone: Climate science researchers, scientists, journalists and activists have all been struggling with grief around what we are witnessing.

Last year I wrote about the work of Joanna Macy, a scholar of Buddhism, eco-philosophy, general systems theory and deep ecology, and author of more than a dozen books.

Her initiative, The Work That Reconnects, helps people essentially do nothing more mysterious than telling the truth about what we see, know and feel is happening to our world.

In order to remain able to continue in our work, we first must feel the full pain of what is being done to the world, according to Macy.

“Refusing to feel pain, and becoming incapable of feeling the pain, which is actually the root meaning of apathy, refusal to suffer – that makes us stupid, and half alive,” she told me. “It causes us to become blind to see what is really out there.”

Heat Is Online – originally Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org. Jan 25, 2015

lemming numbers are falling off a cliff!

Climate change is bringing wetter winters to southern Norway, a bleak prospect for the region’s lemmings.

Scientists found that numbers of the animals no longer vary over a regular cycle, as they did until a decade ago; there are no more bumper years.

The snow is not stable enough, they think, to provide winter shelter. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers suggest the lack of Norwegian lemmings is affecting other animals such as foxes and owls.

Heat Is Online – originally BBCNews, 6 Nov 2008

Batman, Superman, etc, not needed!

In a recent study published in The Journal of Industrial Ecology, researchers at the Center for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey in England estimated the annual carbon footprint of crime in England and Wales, and found that reducing crime could actually cause society’s overall carbon footprint of society to increase.

While there is an energy cost to operating prisons, the study notes, inmates generally consume less than an average citizen in the country, so fewer prisoners might mean higher overall energy consumption.

Additionally, the money saved from reducing crime would go into the government’s budget and people’s pockets. All that money could be spent in other ways — infrastructure, buildings or goods — that may require more energy to produce or operate, possibly adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

New York Times, 3 Aug 2016

thanks to ddh

climate change causes increase in bad writing!

The language of ice in Antarctica gains clarity at about 500 feet up. It’s from here, glimpsed through the just open tailgate of a low-flying aircraft, that the nuance of its vocabulary, baffling in the scientific reports, may be heard.

The soft fragility of the floes, a translucent crust over the bays. The booming magificence of a glacier, its echo extending to an ice shelf that calves icebergs into the sea. Isolated islands of ice, their ballast glowing emerald green under the water, pushing loudly into the subdued scatter of pack ice.

Screaming cravasses fracturing the ice sheet, revealing unfathomable blue in its depths. The dynamics of the forces creating all this continues to confound scientists, who are now scrambling to translate and explain the language of ice even as it seems to find new and troubling expressions.

Jo Chandler, the Age (Australia), 21 Jan 2008 – screen copy held by this website

don’t tread on a sheep!

Sheep living on a remote island off the coast of Scotland have been shrinking for 20 years. Now it seems shorter winters caused by climate change are responsible.

Soay sheep are a primitive breed of domestic sheep, which live on the island of Hirta, in the St Kilda archipelago, without human interference. From 1955 onwards, the population has been closely studied.

Over the last 20 years, the average size of the sheep has been getting smaller, but it has been unclear why – particularly as natural selection would tend to drive the development of bigger bodies.

Kaustuv Roy, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California San Diego, who was not involved in the study, is impressed. “Their results are really useful, because they tease apart the different processes. It’s a really nice study,” he says.

New Scientist, 2 Jul 2009

the golden-winged warbler saves the day!

Birds appear to be able to sense a coming storm and fly away before it hits, according to research on golden-winged warblers in the United States.

”It’s the first time we’ve documented this type of storm avoidence behaviour in birds during breeding season,” said ecologist Henry Streby at the University of California.

“There’s growing research that shows that tornadoes are becoming more common and severe with climate change, so evasive actions like the one the warbler took might become more than necessary.” said Streby.

Illawarra Mercury, 20 Dec 2014 – screen copy held by this website

we’re going to need more psychologists!

Climate change will have significant negative impacts on Americans’ health and psychological well-being, due to an increase in the frequency and severity of climate-related natural disasters and other climate-related changes in the environment and weather.

Likely effects, which will increase as climate change’s physical impacts accelerate, include stress, anxiety, depression and a loss of community identity, says a new report from the American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica.

Climate change is also likely to result in an increase in post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions because of the rise in the number and severity of natural disasters, according to the report. Climate change could also lead to increased feelings of loss and helplessness if individuals and communities are forced to relocate.

“The striking thing is how these effects will permeate so many aspects of our daily lives,” said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association.

news-medical, 10 Jun 2014

sounds more like the description of a tax collector

As we worry about the ability of some species to run from climate change and escape extinction, ticks, mosquitoes, kissing bugs, and the parasites they carry may thrive under climate change.

Where will these crawling and flying disease carriers move? And who will be at risk for what were once called tropical diseases?

A forest nymph brushing against a hiker doesn’t begin to drink blood immediately. She crawls across the skin, searching for a comfortable dinner spot.

She grips her prey with spindly legs and uses knife-like mouthparts to slice into human skin. She secretes cement around the wound, binding herself to her host, and then begins to imbibe.

Once attached, this offspring of a changing climate can’t be simply brushed off.

statnews.com, 1 Jul 2016

thanks to ddh

funding needed!

Reproductive efficiency has suffered a dramatic decrease since the mid-1980s despite rapid worldwide progress in genetics and management of high producing dairy herds.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona propose that summer heat stress is likely to be a major factor related to low fertility in high producing dairy herds, especially in countries with warm weather.

Further studies should try to establish the effect of global warming at the farm level. This problem is reflected with warm summers and even with peaks of temperatures in winter.

Science 2.0, 5 Sep 2007

catastrophe has come and gone

Climate change is real and urgent, and Australia must have emissions trading in place in 2010 or face a catastrophe.

That’s the message from the nation’s top climate change adviser Ross Garnaut, who is sticking to his guns on the need for drastic action to counter global warming. He said failing to act on climate change would end up decimating the economy and the environment.

“With unmitigated climate change, on the basis of the mainstream science, we won’t have much, if any, of the Great Barrier Reef, of Kakadu.”

The Age (Australia), 4 Jul 2008

watch your step

Scientists were baffled last July when they discovered three giant holes in the ground in the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia. Now, with the help of satellite imagery, researchers have located four additional craters–and they believe there may be dozens more in the region.

The leading theory is that the holes were created by gas explosions triggered by underground heat or by rising air temperatures associated with climate change, the Siberian Times reported last December.

Huffington Post, 23 Feb 2015

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

come hell or high ….

desert

Right now, the 3.6 million people living in Melbourne have more water than they need, with 71 billion litres set aside in half-full rivers and dams for whenever we feel like turning on a tap. But not for much longer.

By 2030, another 800,000 people are expected to squeeze into Melbourne’s sprawling suburbs. Quenching their thirst – not to mention keeping them clean – will take another 53 billion litres of water. So far the equation doesn’t look bad.

But then comes the big subtraction, climate change, which CSIRO scientists have forecast will make the city hotter and drier in the decades ahead. That means that unless we change the way we live, by 2030 Melbourne will be facing a 55 billion litre shortfall.

The Age (Australia), 21 Apr 2006 – screen copy held by this website

Yes, we have no ……

The world’s supply of bananas is under threat from plagues of bugs and fungal infections which could be disastrous if they continue to spread, researchers say. The government in Costa Rica, one of the biggest suppliers of the fruit, has already declared a “national emergency” over the state of its crop.

Magda Gonzalez, the director of the agriculture ministry’s State Phytosanitary Services (SFE), told The Tico Times last week that climate change had boosted insect populations in recent years, making plagues increasingly likely across the world. “I can tell you with near certainty that climate change is behind these pests,” she said.

The Independent, 16 Dec 2013

straight from the ……

small_horse

After they first appeared in the fossil record, horses got smaller as a result of a warming planet, says a study just published in Science.

“Horses started out small, about the size of a small dog like a miniature schnauzer,” said co-author Jonathan Bloch, associate curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus.

“What’s surprising is that after they first appeared, they then became even smaller and then dramatically increased in size, and that exactly corresponds to the global warming event, followed by cooling.”

“It had been known that mammals were small during that time and that it was warm, but we hadn’t understood that temperature specifically was driving the evolution of body size.”

Grist, 23 Feb 2012

Ban plants!

The surprising discovery that plants may be responsible for up to 30 per cent of the world’s methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is no reason to stop planting forests, a scientist has warned.

A team led by Frank Keppler, of Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany, found that living plants emit 10 to 1000 times more of the gas than decaying matter. And plants increase their methane emissions when warmed by the sun, it was found.

Plants have long been seen as weapons against global warming because they absorb another greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.

It’s a surprise, said David Etheridge of the CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research division. “You think you know everything.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Jan 2006

a socially isolated cow

cow

CSIRO research shows methane is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.

Each year, cattle generate about 100 million tonnes of the gas, which is generated by micro-organisms in the cow’s stomach. NSW Agriculture’s research at Tocal Agricultural College showed one cow produced about 100 grams of methane a day, or about 10 to 15 per cent of the energy they digested, and that most was expelled from the cow’s mouth rather than its rear.

“Genetic variations enable some animals to better convert feed to body weight,” Dr Autin said. “More efficient feeding produces less methane.”

Newscastle Herald, 7 Jan 2006 – screen copy held by this website

keep off the grass!

In Australia, where 11 million cattle range in Queensland alone, this call for livestock reform has been a whisper on the edges of the greenhouse debate. I became interested after reading a letter by animal rights activist Geoff Russell to climate-change campaigner Tim Flannery.

In his letter, Russell quotes climate scientist James Hansen, who says meat reduction is the second-most important thing one can do to combat climate change (the most important is to elect a government committed to action). Russell then quotes the CSIRO, who “have tested Australian cattle on grass and grain – those on grass produce about three times more methane”.

Could this be true? Could a fat corn-fed cow be better for the environment than one allowed to range over grass?

Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Feb 2009

in search of the secetive chestnut rail

Stephen Garnett, a professor of tropical knowledge at Charles Darwin University believes global warming will herald stronger and more frequent cyclones and, as habitats change, life forms will fight for space or even existence.

Consider the chestnut rail, a secretive bird whose ginger body and green beak make it prettier than it sounds – a raucous “wack waka, wah-wah”, alternated with grunts – and once common on Marchinbar Island, about 640 kilometres north-east of Darwin.

Since Cyclone Monica swept through, in April last year, the chestnut rail has been nowhere to be seen on the island.

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Nov 2007

flat as a …

pancakes

It may be a bit harder to drown your pancakes in maple syrup in the future, studies suggest.

According to a 2010 Cornell University study, “maple syrup production in the Northeast is expected to slightly decline by 2100, and the window for tapping trees will move earlier by about a month.”

Additionally, most maple syrup production south of Pennsylvania “will likely be lost by 2100 due to lack of freezing.”

Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2012 What Climate Change Just Might Ruin

…but can new wine be put in new bottles?

World wine producers face rising challenges from global warming and soaring fuel costs but any price increases will be bearable, the head of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine said yesterday.

More efficient producers, who find how to produce better wine even with rising costs, will be the winners, Frederico Castellucci said shortly after being re-elected director-general at the organistion’s congress, where 44 countries were represented.

Solutions being researched including lighter bottles and other packaging such as boxes, increased competition and cost-saving efforts could speed the trend to bigger plots, he said.

The Sun Herald (Australia), 22 Jun 2008 – screen copy held by this website

mound-building Mallee fowl takes a hit!

For nearly 20 years, Joe Benshemensh has been monitoring the mound-building Mallee fowl, trying to discern what’s killing them off, and whether they have a future.

“If climate change is a reality then the prognosis is dire. On the other hand, they have a geographic range that gives us some hope they won’t be eliminated, just take a severe hit. Our big challenge is to modify the monitoring program, to actively preserve them.”

The Sunday Age (Australia), 1 Jun 2008 – screen copy held by this website

true believers rocked!

“It’s time to get over big government. I know most Australians did so aeons ago but a few hold-outs, such as myself, kept the faith.

The Government’s wimpish response to the crisis of climate change has rocked the faith of the true believers. We can’t wait any longer for government to provide leadership, the price signals and incentives push us towards a simpler life.

If the planet is to be saved it will have to start at the bottom, with people deciding to change the way they live. People power, we can only hope will embolden the Government to do the right thing.

It would seem that whatever personal action we take to reduce our carbon footprint – buy a hybrid car, install solar heating, give up meat – will be negated by a Chinese family now rich enough to buy its first car and first fridge, who will replace the carbon dioxide we have virtuously reduced.”

Adele Horin, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

time is up for sheep and cattle!

In his report on climate change released at the beginning of the month, Professor Garnaut said that the price of beef and land would soar to a point where only wealthy households could afford beef.

Citing research, he said kangaroo meat “Could again become important” and that if a way to reduce methane emissions from livestock wasn’t found, 7 million cattle and 36 million sheep could be replaced by 175 million farmed kangaroos.

Kangaroos produce no methane, and the other environmental benefit is that kangaroos have soft feet, which means less damage to the land and less soil erosion compared to sheep and cattle.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 15 Oct 2008 – screen copy held by this website

Climate conference emits hot air!

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

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

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

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Dec 2007

a new environmental warrior!

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

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

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

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

get with the trend!

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

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

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

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

Reuters, 12 May 2016

thanks to ddh

kissing cousins?

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

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

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

ABC News (Australia), 19 May 2016

thanks to ddh

Say that again?

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

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

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

The Guardian, 14 Jun 2014

Your planet needs you!

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

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

wake up call!

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

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

par for the …

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

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

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

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

why didn’t someone tell us this before?

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

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

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

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

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

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

stating the obvious

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

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

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

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

turtles need to speed up!

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

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

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

foragers making slow progress

Foragers looking for sloes this year are facing a poor harvest because of the weather, according to gardeners. Sloes are the last fresh fruit you can pick in Britain before the winter sets in and is traditionally picked in Autumn to make sloe gin for Christmas.

Graeme Proctor, from Crown Nursery in Suffolk, said the weather had not been good for sloes for the last two summers. He said: “Because last year’s summer was very bad, it meant the fruit bud initiation on which this year’s crop would grow was very poor. This led to fewer flower buds this spring. He blamed climate change for the bad weather.”

He added: “For that reason [climate change], it’s been a bad year for all stone fruit including plums. It’s all down to global warming.”
The Telegraph (UK), 14 Oct 2008

the sky isn’t falling – it’s shrinking!

Scientists have discovered yet another enigma about our planet: the thermosphere has undergone serious shrinkage. The thermosphere is the largest portion of the Earth’s atmosphere and is the next-to-last region before you reach the vacuum of outer space.

While we are coming out of one of the longer periods of low solar activity in a century, scientists have found that the thermosphere has shrunk some 28 percent. That’s the largest drop in recorded history, and they cannot explain why.
ars technica, 22 Jul 2012