if you try hard enough everything can be about climate change

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

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

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

SMU Research, 25 Jan 2016

thanks to ddh

koalas the new canary in the coalmine?

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

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

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

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

Phys.org, 3 Feb 2016

thanks to ddh

smaller babblers and warblers

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

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

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

stem cell burger

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

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

teenage mutant female ninja turtles?

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

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

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

flies falling over in bathtubs

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

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

climate on steroids

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

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

demise of a three eyed reptile

A three-eyed reptile whose ancestors used to scurry under the feet of dinosaurs could die out as global warming turns them all into males. The sex of tuatara, which look like giant, greenish-brown lizards, depends on the temperature of their nest. When it is above 22 degrees, only males are born, while females are produced at temperatures of about 21 degrees.
The Age, 3 Jul 2008

a bent globe

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

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

I knew it all along!

dinosaursAn international team, including members from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of London, has constructed a complete evolutionary tree tracing the history of all 4,500 mammals on Earth that puts the major diversification 10-15 million years after asteroid strike, casting into doubt the role the dinosaur die-off played in the success of our present day mammals.

Around 55 million years ago, the mid-latitude mean annual temperatures went up by up to 5 deg C over about 20,000 years. “It was a much bigger increase in temperature than we’ve had so far, but within the range that we might get within the next century (never mind 20,000 years),” said Prof Andy Purvis from Imperial College London.

It looks like a later bout of ‘global warming’ may have kick-started today’s diversity – not the death of the dinosaurs.
The Telegraph (UK), 29 Mar 2007

make love not war!

animalsClimate change is pushing Arctic mammals to mate with cousin species, in a trend that could be pushing the polar bear and other animals towards extinction, biologists said. Rapidly melting Arctic sea ice imperils species through interbreeding as well as through habitat loss, they said in a commentary in the British science journal Nature.

As more isolated populations and species come into contact, they will mate, hybrids will form, and rare species are likely to go extinct. The Times of Malta, 16 Dec 2010

a prediction in bad taste

Tasteless carrots, bad pizza dough and poor quality steak are some of the impacts we can expect from Australia’s changing climate, according to a new scientific study released.

‘Appetite for Change’, a report prepared by leading climate scientists David Karoly and Richard Eckard at the University of Melbourne, reveals the impact that shifting rainfall patterns, extreme weather, warming oceans, and climate related diseases will have on the production, quality and cost of Australia’s food in the future.
The Daily Examiner, 6 Apr 2015

scientific explanation

“Well, the wacky weather could get even wackier. What we’re seeing is that the jet stream and the polar vortex are becoming unstable. Instability of historic proportions. Now think of the polar vortex as a bucket, a swirling bucket of cold air. However, the walls are weakening.”

“Cold air is spilling out, spilling out over the walls of the bucket. And the question is, why? Why is this polar vortex weakening? We think it’s because of the gradual heating up of the North Pole. The North Pole is melting.”
New York City College physics professor Michio Kaku, interview on CBS, This Morning, 13 Feb 2014

change you can believe in!

Siestas will become an increasingly common part of British life as summers get hotter and drier due to climate change, a leading authority on the health hazards of heat has predicted.

Prof Bill Keatinge, from University College London, yesterday predicted that Continental-style after-lunch naps would become increasingly common in Britain. “An increase of only 8C in body temperature will kill,” he said. “One simple countermeasure is to avoid exertion. You see this in southern Europe where people take siestas.”
The Telegraph (UK), 13 Aug 2005

But I thought the heat went…

“The apparent paradox relationship between rising temperatures in the atmosphere and declining sea surface temperatures can be explained easily,”said Dr Helen McGregor of the MARUM Research Centre Ocean Margins at the University of Bremen in Germany.

“Both the increasing wind and rotation of the Earth cause coastal surface waters to be transported to the open ocean. These water masses are then replaced by considerably cooler water being upwelled from deeper oceanic levels.The stronger the greenhouse effect the stronger the cold water pump works – and the cooler the coastal waters off Morocco.”
The Telegraph (UK), 5 Feb 2007

crocodiles more choosy than previously thought!

Australia’s saltwater crocodiles appear to be in hot water, with a University of Queensland study linking climate warming to shorter dives, putting the crocs’ survival at risk.

Professor Craig Franklin of the UQ School of Biological Sciences said saltwater crocodiles exposed to long-term elevated water temperature spent less time submerged once water temperature exceeded 31.5 degrees Celsius.

Professor Franklin said further research on other crocodile performance traits that could influence the ability to survive future climate change was needed before scientists could fully understand the effects of elevated water temperatures.University of Queensland News, 16 Dec 2015

thanks to ddh

sea planes needed!

seaplaneCalifornia will face billions of dollars in spending to cope with the consequences of rising sea levels if low-lying communities along the coast are ultimately submerged, as scientists predict, Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday..

“If that happens, the Los Angeles airport’s going to be underwater,” Brown told reporters at a presentation of his revised state budget proposal in Los Angeles. “So is the San Francisco airport.” LA Times, 13 May 2014

a continuing role for a former IPCC official?

A collection of Australia’s best known faces from stage, screen and stadium have joined together to save some of the country’s greatest natural landmarks.

TV character Kim Craig, one half of television duo Kath & Kim, is championing the cause of the local backyard – at risk from rising temperatures, reduced rainfall and increased water restrictions.

“It makes me gropable to think that because of global warming, this back garden could soon be a dust bowl!” she said.
The Age, 2 Nov 2008

butterflies down for the count!

butterflyMore than three-quarters of Britain’s 59 butterfly species have declined over the last 40 years, with particularly dramatic declines for once common farmland species such as the Essex Skipper and small heath, according to the most authoritative annual survey of population trends.

“This is the final warning bell,” said Chris Packham, Butterfly Conservation vice-president, calling for urgent research to identify the causes for the disappearance of butterflies from ordinary farmland. “If butterflies are going down like this, what’s happening to our grasshoppers, our beetles, our solitary bees? If butterflies are in trouble, rest assured everything else is.”

Climate change and pesticides may be playing a more damaging role in their declines than previously thought.
The Guardian, 15 Dec 2015

thanks to John Blethen

all bases covered!

The UK’s weather will become both too wet and too dry – and also too cold and too hot – as climate change increases the frequency of extreme events, the Met Office has warned in a new report.

Its scientists concluded that on average the UK will see wetter, milder winters and hotter, drier summers in the long term due to global warming.

But the natural year-to-year variability of weather will also mean occasional very cold winters, like that of 2010-11, and very wet summers, like that of 2012.
The Guardian, 26 Mar 2014

certain … not so certain

question_marksBecause in just 100 months’ time, if we are lucky, and based on a quite conservative estimate, we could reach a tipping point for the beginnings of runaway climate change.

That said, among people working on global warming, there are countless models, scenarios, and different iterations of all those models and scenarios, said Andrew Simms, policy director and head of the climate change programme at the New Economics Foundation.
The Guardian, 1 Aug 2008

nail everything down!

floatingThe news: If you’re still having trouble believing climate change is a real thing, here is another item on the list of things affected by global warming: gravity.

According to the latest report by the European Space Agency, detailed satellite imaging has shown that “the loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region.”
World.Mic, 30 Sep 2014

the evils of concrete!

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

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

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

Telegraph, 24 Jul 2004

Great flying boulders!

flying_boulderAnother danger of climate change: Giant flying boulders?

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

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

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

thanks to ddh

predictions

Following this example, a number of climate advocates have begun considering the benefits of greater centralisation in decision-making to mitigate the devastating scenarios offered by climate scientists.

For example, in an interview about her new book The Collapse of Western Civilization, Naomi Oreskes argued: “If anyone will weather this storm it seems likely that it will be the Chinese.”

In the book, Oreskes and co-author Erik Conway imagine a future world in which the predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change have come to pass.

With respect to China, the authors predict: China’s ability to weather disastrous climate change vindicated the necessity of centralised government … inspiring similar structures in other, reformulated nations.

ABC (Australia) The Drum, 5 Sep 2015, opinion by Peter Burdon

Bambi dumped!

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

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

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

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

thanks to ddh

lopsided world

lopsided_earth

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

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

practice yoga and save the world!

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

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

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

(c) Can Stock Photo

doubt cast on Indian climate change research

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

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

(c) Can Stock Photo

India’s incredible shrinking cow!

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

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

(c) Can Stock Photo

data don’t matter

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

see also – Say what?

food poisoning

food_poisoning2

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

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

The incredible shrinking butterfly!

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

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

thanks to David Mulberry

This means……

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

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

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

too many black sheep in the family

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

They’re invading!…but then again maybe not

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

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

thanks to ddh

it’s all in the mind

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

to someone with purple-tinted glasses, everything looks purple

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

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

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

monkeys on the move

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

Earth gets Royal reprieve!

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

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

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

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

get in quick

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

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

drink up quickly!

Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery has been creating specialty brews since 1991, and sustainability director Jenn Orgolini said anyone who enjoys the company’s product should be concerned about the climate. . “If you drink beer now, the issue of climate change is impacting you right now.” Some of those impacts include higher prices for raw materials or scarcer products such as specialty hops. Durango Herald, 23/11/11

the frontiers of climate science

Science News: In a fifteen-page article due to be published in next month’s Nature, an author with no previous scientific background argues that he has proven a link between climate change and the disappointing size of his penis.

Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature Publishing Group, has defended the decision to publish the piece without it being subjected to peer-review by the scientific community:

“Sean Johnson’s ground-breaking work must be read by everyone. I appreciate that the measurement, causes, and even the existence of climate change are divisive issues. Yet the idea that man-made global warming may explain a less-than satisfactory penis-size is something that can unite scientists, environmentalists and politicians behind a shared goal.”ThePoke UK, 9 Nov 2011

watch out for falling satellites

Air in the atmosphere’s outermost layer is very thin, but air molecules still create drag that slows down satellites, requiring engineers to periodically boost them back into their proper orbits. But the amount of carbon dioxide up there is increasing. With more carbon dioxide up there, more cooling occurs, causing the air to settle. So the atmosphere is less dense and creates less drag.Live Science, 16 Aug 2011

all the proof you need

Sunflowers are normally associated with warmer climates and scientists believe that global warming is responsible for allowing them to grow successfully in the northern isles. They were grown by Richard Herdman, an Orkney farmer, who scattered the seeds over two and a half acres of his dairy farm in the west Mainland area.

Ruth Dawkins, of the Stop Climate Chaos group, said the success of the sun-loving yellow flowers on Orkney was a sign of global warming.
The Telegraph (UK), 14 Oct 2008

2006 to 2015: we’re halfway there!

“Already in the year 2025 the conditions for winter sports in the Fichtel Mountains will develop negatively, especially with regards to ‘natural’ snow conditions and for so-called snow-making potential. A financially viable ski business operation after about the year 2025 appears under these conditions to be extremely improbable”.Andreas Matzarakis, University of Freiburg Meteorological Institute, 26 July 2006
………………………………….
“The Fichtel Mountains are not just a wonderful stomping ground for snow shoe tours; they are also a paradise for cross-country skiers. Around 100 kilometres of ski runs in both the classic and skating styles, and in all difficulty levels, are marked each day in the north Bavarian Central German Uplands.”Fichtel Mountains: Franconia’s snow paradise, Holidays in Bavaria website 2015