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

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

running hot and cold

Australia is in the grip of a nationwide cold snap – and paradoxically, it could be another result of global warming. But Grant Beard of the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre said global warming could in fact be driving down overnight winter temperatures.

The cold spell, he explained, was being fuelled by the high pressure systems that increasingly dominate southern areas of Australia during autumn and early winter.Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Jul 2006

is nothing sacred?

The rising demand for flat-screen televisions could have a greater impact on global warming than the world’s largest coal-fired power stations, a leading environmental scientist warned yesterday.

As a driver of global warming, nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, yet no one knows how much of it is being released into the atmosphere by the industry, said Michael Prather, director of the environment institute at the University of California, Irvine.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Prather and a colleague, Juno Hsu, state that this year’s production of the gas is equivalent to 67m tonnes of carbon dioxide, meaning it has “a potential greenhouse impact larger than that of the industrialised nations’ emissions of PFCs or SF6, or even that of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants”. The Guardian, 3 Jul 2008

see also – Say what?

money please

The United Nations climate chief has urged global financial institutions to triple their investments in clean energy to reach the $1 trillion a year mark that would help avert a climate catastrophe.

In an interview with the Guardian, the UN’s Christiana Figueres urged institutions to begin building the foundations of a clean energy economy by scaling up their investments.
The Guardian, 15 Jan 2014

see also – Say what?

climate change in ruins

From ancient ruins in Thailand to a 12th-century settlement off Africa’s eastern coast, prized sites around the world have withstood centuries of wars, looting and natural disasters. But experts say they might not survive a more recent menace: a swiftly warming planet.

“Our world is changing, there is no going back,” Tom Downing of the Stockholm Environment Institute said Tuesday at the U.N. climate conference, where he released a report on threats to archaeological sites, coastal areas and other treasures.Fox News, 8 Nov 2006

buckeye ejected

It’s not the best-researched global-warming theory, but it could be the most horrifying to certain fans of college football: 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.

David Lytle, chief of the Division of Forestry in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said healthy adult buckeye trees can tolerate a wide climate range, although seedlings are more sensitive. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan could eventually give buckeye trees a more comfortable habitat.

Save The Buckeye, a coalition of environmental activists and outdoor enthusiasts doesn’t have any evidence that the buckeye’s range has been pushed north but says global warming threatens to make that happen.
USA today, 12 Sep 2008

statistics that are not to be sneezed at

Pollen seasons as well as the amount of pollen in the air progressively increased during a six-year study in Italy, the doctors told a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in New Orleans.

“By studying a well-defined geographical region, we observed that the progressive increase of the average temperature has prolonged the duration of the pollen seasons of some plants and, consequently, the overall pollen load,” Dr. Walter Canonica, who worked on the study, said in a statement.The Telegraph (UK), 1 Mar 2010

dam statistics

“Over the past 50 years southern Australia has lost about 20 percent of its rainfall and one cause is almost certainly global warming. Similar losses have been experienced in eastern Australia and although the science is less certain it is probable that global warming is behind these losses too.

But by far the most dangerous trend is the declines in the flow of Australian rivers; it has fallen by around 70 percent in recent decades, so dams no longer fill even when it does rain. Growing evidence suggests that hotter soils caused directly by global warming have increased evaporation and transpiration and that the change is permanent.

I believe the first thing Australians need to do is to stop worrying about “the drought” – which is transient – and start talking about the new climate.”
Tim Flannery, New Scientist, 16 Jun 2007
(admin note: at July 2015 Australian dams are 68 to 97% full, apart from Perth and Adelaide)

contender for award for the most tenuous link to climate change

But now there is a new charge against carbon dioxide that may strike more deeply at the heart of American public opinion: The claim that it promotes obesity.

But why blame CO2? The evidence here is more circumstantial, but Danish researcher Lars-Georg Hersoug notes that atmospheric levels of the gas have risen during the same period and that in the United States, obesity has increased most rapidly on the East Coast, where CO2 concentrations are highest.

Hersoug has so far conducted just one test of his hypothesis, an experiment in which six young men were placed in special climate rooms for seven hours. They were then given the opportunity to eat as much as they wanted, and those who had been exposed to increased CO2 levels ate six percent more than those who had not.
Raw Story, 16/3/12

cart before horse

“Climate change is a serious issue, not just for Australia but the whole planet. It is important we address the problem and not get stuck in debate about whether it is real or not, or it will be too late to do anything.”

editorial – Newcastle Herald (Australia) 24 May 2011 (screencopy held by this website)

shrinking salmon set to soar

A new study released by Vancity says there will be a significant decline in the province’s salmon stock within the next five decades due to climate change and the drop in fish numbers would result in soaring prices.

“This is a really tangible way for people to understand the impact of climate change,” says Rashid Sumaila, one of the study’s authors who has been working with the UBC’s fisheries research unit for over 20 years.

Sumaila is urging all levels of government in Canada to take action. He says while projections are set for 2050, the move to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has to start now.

He also says the public is equally responsible for taking the initiative for change. “Make sure your carbon footprint is as minimal as you can. Get to your representatives, let them know this is serious.”
CBC (British Columbia) News, 6 Jul 2015

thanks to Joe Public

and your solution is?

Falling birth rates in some developed and developing countries (a significant portion of which are due to government-imposed limits on the number of children a couple can have) have begun to reduce or reverse the population explosion.

It remains unclear how many people the planet can comfortably sustain, but it is clear that per capita energy consumption must go down if climate change is to be controlled. Ultimately, a one child per couple rule is not sustainable either and there is no perfect number for human population. But it is clear that more humans means more greenhouse gas emissions.
Scientific American, 26 Nov 2011

climate change & female bearded lizards

A recent study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature reveals a new way that lizards might be affected by the higher temperatures (on average) that our planet has been doing through.

The researchers studied a population of Bearded Dragon lizards in Australia, an animal who’s sex is usually determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and found that the heat was actually making eggs with male chromosomes turn out female after a climate sex-change, so to speak.
Tree Hugger, 2 Jul 2015

see also – Say what?

thanks to Joe Public

rats getting smaller and bigger

You probably hadn’t noticed — but the head shape and overall size of rodents has been changing over the past century. A University of Illinois at Chicago ecologist has tied these changes to human population density and climate change.

The finding is reported by Oliver Pergams, UIC research assistant professor of biological sciences, in the July 31 issue of PLoS One. Pergams found both increases and decreases in the 15 anatomic traits he measured, with changes as great as 50 percent over 80 years.
Science Daily, July 31 2009

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

more bats in the belfry

Thousands of fruit bats have flown down from the tropics to make Melbourne their home. A Deakin University researcher has found out why. Dr Parris figured climate change had to be the answer.

She had completed her PhD (on frogs) in Canberra with Dr Donna Hazell at the Australian National University’s centre for resource and environmental studies.

“The construction and continued expansion of our city, and the huge amount of water we use on our gardens, has made Melbourne warm enough and wet enough for the bats to live here year-round, while the watering also means trees flower and fruit for a longer period,” Dr Parris says.
Sydney Morning Herald 6 Jun 2005

see also – Say what?

as bald as a chicken

May was Earth’s hottest month on record — and as the planet gets warmer, chickens are struggling to adapt.

Their body temperatures rise, which leads to higher mortality rates and an increased risk of disease that may threaten global poultry supply in the next decades. Enter geneticist Carl Schmidt and his team from the University of Delaware, who believe that reducing a chicken’s feather count — making it look bald, basically — will cool it down and reduce health risks.
Time, 27 Jun 2014

important scientific study left incomplete!

Long-term global warming could cause loaves of bread to shrink in size due a reduction in the amount of protein in grains, Australian scientists have found. Dr Glenn Fitzgerald, a senior researcher for the state government of Victoria who led the study, said the amount of protein in the grain is set to reduce by 2 to 14 per cent if carbon dioxide levels increase as anticipated.

Asked about the taste of the 2050 loaves, he said: “We haven’t actually eaten them. We baked the loaves of bread for scientific processes,” he said. “They get dried out. I don’t know what it tastes like.”
The Telegraph (UK) 23 Jun 2013

blind as a …

A changing climate could hamper the ability of some bat species to hunt effectively using sound, according to a new study. Bats calling at low frequencies will hear echoes from an object further away than bats calling at high frequencies, says study co-author Holger Goerlitz, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany.

One thing is clear: global warming will impact the pure physics of sound that bats use to echolocate.
National Geographic, 10 Dec 2012

back to the trees!

Climate justice is the understanding that we will not be able to stop climate change if we don’t change the neo-liberal, corporate-based economy which stops us from achieving sustainable societies. It is the understanding that corporate globalization must be stopped.

Indigenous Peoples, peasant communities, fisherfolk, and especially women in these communities, have been able to live harmoniously and sustainably with the Earth for millennia. They are now not only the most affected by climate change, but also the most affected by its false solutions, such as agrofuels, mega-dams, genetic modification, tree plantations and carbon offset schemes.

Instead of market-based climate mitigation schemes, the sustainable practices of these peoples and communities should be seen as offering the real solutions to climate change.
The Global Justice Ecology Project website

frenzied beetles upset apple cart

Climate change could be throwing common tree killers called mountain pine beetles into a reproductive frenzy. A new study suggests that some beetles living in Colorado, which normally reproduce just once annually, now churn out an extra generation of new bugs each year. The insects, says Jeffry Mitton, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, were swarming close to 2 months too early that year.

It seemed so implausible that when he told colleagues about the encounter, some didn’t believe him. “This would really upset the apple cart,” Milton remembers thinking.
Science AAAS, 16 Mar 2012

I know where I’m placing my bet!

Humans will be extinct in 100 years because the planet will be uninhabitable, according to Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, one of the leaders of the effort to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. He blames overcrowding, denuded resources and climate change.

“For years now, we have heard that we are at a tipping point. Al Gore warned us in An Inconvenient Truth that immediate action was required if we were to prevent global warming.”

“Only two conclusions can be drawn: Either these old warnings were alarmist, or we are already in far bigger trouble than the U.N. Claims.”
Reuters, 18 Jun 2015

thanks to David Mulberry