lopsided world

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

Mother Earth gets a voice!

Bolivia’s climate summit has had moments of joy, levity and absurdity. Yet underneath it all, you can feel the emotion that provoked this gathering: rage against helplessness.

The Bolivian government got the ball rolling by proposing four big ideas:

  • that nature should be granted rights that protect ecosystems from annihilation (a “Universal Declaration of Mother Earth Rights”);
  • that those who violate those rights and other international environmental agreements should face legal consequences (a “Climate Justice Tribunal”);
  • that poor countries should receive various forms of compensation for a crisis they are facing but had little role in creating (“Climate Debt”);
  • and that there should be a mechanism for people around the world to express their views on these topics (“World People’s Referendum on Climate Change”).

A New Climate Movement In Bolivia, By Naomi Klein – Countercurrents.org, 23 Apr 2010

squirrels needed!

For people who feel an acute unease about the future of the planet, a small but growing number of psychotherapists now offer a treatment designed to reduce worries as well as carbon footprints: ecopsychology.

But ecopsychology can help patients come to terms with their feelings about the natural world, said Thomas Doherty, who teaches an introductory course to ecopsychology at the Graduate School of Education and Counseling at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.

Since she took Dr. Doherty’s ecopsychology class last fall, Angeline Tiamson, a graduate student earning a master’s degree in counseling at Lewis & Clark, has embarked on a new way of thinking.

When she is on campus, she drifts to the low, wide trunk of an old black walnut tree, a spot she found during a nature exercise for class. She sits there for several minutes: no iPod, no cellphone, no laptop.

She rubs her hand over the bark, and sniffs the empty shells left behind by squirrels. New York Times, 16 Feb 2008

Another Paris agreement needed!

Global warming is the cause of a number of damaging effects to the earth and its inhabitants, such as climate change, glacier retreat, rising sea levels, and now we may have a new threat on the horizon… world war!

According to the 2007 CNA Corporation report, there is clear indication that as the tensions of global warming continue to heat up, so may the possibilities of war… a Hot War! The first thing we need to do as a nation is concentrate on reducing our own pollution levels.

Each country has the most control over itself and its citizens and should therefore be held accountable for its own actions.

Beyond that, each government needs to open communications with each other in order to help incorporate pollution reduction programs and technologies into every nations lifestyle around the world.

Such a plan would help make current efforts more effective by not only producing awareness on a global level, but providing a consistent plan for all to follow.

Tree Hugger, 4 Jan 2009

see also – action plan

in search of a gender neutral glacier

A critical but overlooked aspect of the human dimensions of glaciers and global change research is the relationship between gender and glaciers.

While there has been relatively little research on gender and global environmental change in general (Moosa and Tuana, 2014; Arora-Jonsson, 2011), there is even less from a feminist perspective that focuses on gender (understood here not as a male/female binary, but as a range of personal and social possibilities) and also on power, justice, inequality, and knowledge production in the context of ice, glacier change, and glaciology.

Through a review and synthesis of a multi-disciplinary and wide-ranging literature on human-ice relations, this paper proposes a feminist glaciology framework to analyze human-glacier dynamics, glacier narratives and discourse, and claims to credibility and authority of glaciological knowledge through the lens of feminist studies.

Feminist glaciology asks how knowledge related to glaciers is produced, circulated, and gains credibility and authority across time and space. Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research, Mark Carey, M Jackson, Alessandro Antonello, Jaclyn Rushing – Progress in Human Geography 1–24, January 10, 2016

thanks to David Hanig

paper bag deflates

In studying the subject in even more detail over the 1950-2013 period, it was further found that this phenomenon could “account for between 70 and 80% of the recorded warming trend in Western Mediterranean cities.”

And in light of this discovery, Quereda et al. pose the important question: “are urban areas contributing to the observed warming trend on which climate change is based?” to which they respond by stating that “the answer to be drawn from our analysis is fully affirmative.”

And so they conclude by stating that “in these Western Mediterranean cities, the Urban Heat Island could account for up to 80% of the recorded warming.”

CO2 Science: The Impacts of Urban Heat Islands on Natural Warming Trends

thanks to David Mulberry

a wake-up call?

Climate change is coming for you in the night. That’s the conclusion of scientists who study how heat disturbs sleep—and how projected warming is expected to make bad sleep even worse.

Led by Nick Obradovich of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, a team of researchers are the first to document the relationship between rising temperatures and poor sleep.

Solomon Hsiang, who studies the effects of climate change on human behavior and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, credits the new study as the first to methodically analyze temperature, climate, and sleep.

The results, he said, “point toward systematic and important effects.”

Bloomberg, 27 May 2017

thanks to David Hanig

everyone into the gondolas!

By the end of the century, Venice – Italy’s City of Water – could face daily floods, and according to a new study, the costly and controversial flood barriers now being built might not be able to protect it.

Laura Carbognin at the Institute of Marine Sciences in Venice and colleagues combined data on land subsidence in the city with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s forecasts of global sea level rise.

They then calculated how this “personalised” sea-level forecast would change the city’s daily tides. When the tide rises above 110 centimetres, Venetians call it acqua alta (“high water”).

This currently happens about four times a year, but Carbognin’s team found that by the end of the century high water could swamp the city between 30 and 250 times a year. The impact on the local environment would be considerable – Carbognin calls it an “unsustainable aggression”. New Scientist, 24 Aug 2009

coverup alleged!

A former Canadian defense minister is demanding governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change.

“I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation … that could be a way to save our planet,” Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.

“We need to persuade governments to come clean on what they know. Some of us suspect they know quite a lot, and it might be enough to save our planet if applied quickly enough,” he said.

TreeHugger, 28 Feb 2007

biodiversity plummets!

I recently attended the Ecological Society of America’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the theme was global warming. Eminent ecologists presented models that projected climate change into a bleak future where species that require unique habitat may be unable to persist.

According to conservation biologist Paul Ehrlich, with an extinction rate 200 times normal expected to continue apace, 20 years from now biodiversity will plummet. And 50 years from now—well within our children’s lifespans—life as we know it on our blue-green planet will be immeasurably transformed.

Island Press, 10 Sep 2010

see also – just plain scary

global society collapses!

A scientific model has suggested that society will collapse in less than three decades due to catastrophic food shortages if policies do not change.

The model, developed by a team at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute, does not account for society reacting to escalating crises by changing global behaviour and policies.

However the model does show that our current way of life appears to be unsustainable and could have dramatic worldwide consequences.

Dr Aled Jones, the Director of the Global Sustainability Institute, told Insurge Intelligence: “The results show that based on plausible climate trends, and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots.”

“In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.”

The Independent, 22 Jun 2015

see also – just plain scary

Field mustard plants beat the rush!

Field mustard plants have evolved in response to an extreme, four-year-long drought in southern California, which some sources have linked to global warming.

These plants flower and produce seeds near the end of the rainy season, but when the rainy season is cut short by a drought, late blooming plants may wither and die before they can produce seeds.

This form of natural selection favors early bloomers. Is just four years enough time to see the results of this evolutionary shift?

Researchers compared plants grown from wild seeds collected before and after the drought and found that post-drought plants had evolved to flower much earlier — sometimes by as much as 10 days!

Understanding Evolution, Jul 2008

blame McDonalds!

McDonald’s spend over $1.8 billion every year worldwide on advertising and promotions, trying to cultivate an image of being a ‘caring’ and ‘green’ company that is also a fun place to eat.

Children are lured in (dragging their parents behind them) with the promise of toys and other gimmicks.

But behind the smiling face of Ronald McDonald lies the reality – McDonald’s only interest is money, making profits from whoever and whatever they can, just like all multinational companies…..McDonald’s are the world’s largest user of beef. Methane emitted by cattle reared for the beef industry is a major contributor to the ‘global warming’ crisis.

Modern intensive agriculture is based on the heavy use of chemicals which are damaging to the environment. What’s Wrong with McDonalds, 1 Feb 2001

gardeners flying blind!

There are many things gardeners can do to cope with climate change. And at the same time, they can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and take other steps to slow the warming of the planet.

That’s the message delivered by David Wolfe, professor in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University. While gardeners everywhere like to complain about the weather, now they have to contend with an increasingly unpredictable climate.

“We are in the unfortunate situation of being the first generation of gardeners, ever, who cannot rely on historical weather records to tell us what our climate is, or what to expect in the future,” writes Wolfe. Cornell Climate Change

(c) Can Stock Photo / HitToon

change you can believe in!

That doesn’t mean climate change won’t affect tropical forests of today. It already is. And it definitely doesn’t mean humans needn’t worry about global warming.

Climate change will be the end of the world as we know it. But it also will be the beginning of another.

Mass extinctions will open ecological niches, and environmental changes will create new ones. New creatures will evolve to fill them, guided by unforeseen selection pressures.

What this new world will look like, exactly, is impossible to predict, and humans aren’t guaranteed to survive in it. (And that’s if civilization somehow manages to survive the climate disasters coming its way in the meantime, from superstorms to sea level rise to agriculture-destroying droughts).

MotherJones, 8 Sep 2015

see also – just plain scary

That’s deth-picable!

It may be the stuff folklore or fairy tales are made of, but is it plausible for humans to evolve into some kind of species of mer-people? What about turning into a species that have no teeth? An expert says that theoretically, these are feasible.

It won’t happen in the near future, but an evolutionary scientist predicted that mankind’s next generation may possibly develop several characteristics such as webbed feet and translucent eyelids in order to adapt to changes in the environment like rising sea levels.

A study led by the University of Florida and published last year had revealed that sea levels could rise by 20 feet and affect low-lying areas worldwide because of climate change.

“As the planet warms, the poles warm even faster,” said Geochemist Andrea Dutton, who was part of the Florida study.

Tech Times, 14 Jan 2016

Comment – US withdraws from the Paris agreement.

President Trump has withdrawn the US from the Paris Agreement fulfilling one of his major campaign promises. The decision is made more impressive given the considerable pressure he was under to remain.

There has been a big reaction, much of it bordering on the hysterical. But nowhere in this reaction have we seen acknowledgement of some basic facts.

  • China and India, two of the world’s highest emitters, are able to increase their emissions under the terms of the Paris agreement while the US is obliged to reduce its emissions.
  • The evidence suggests that even if all parties adhered to their promises the result would be a reduction in global temperature of a small fraction of 1 degree.
  • The stated goal of keeping temperature rise to less than 2 degrees appears to be nothing more than a marketing tool and does not seem to be linked to anything.
  • The bulk of the cash payments through the Climate Fund would be from the US.

This website congratulates President Trump and hopes this decision will go part of the way in taking politics out of the climate debate.

What seems to have been lost over the past decades is the importance of a scientific approach. What is the hypothesis? What is the evidence based on objective experiments and observations? Irrespective of existing beliefs and agendas, what conclusions does the evidence point to?

Tropical fruit flies taking over!

Scientists have been studying fruit fly genetics for a century. When they began to examine the genes found in whole populations of wild flies, they noticed a curious pattern.

Certain chromosomal markers (inversions) were common in populations living in warmer climates near the equator, and others were common in more polar, cool-weather populations.

It wasn’t clear what the genes associated with these different markers did exactly, but they seemed to help the flies cope with their divergent climates.

Now, scientists have gone back to many of the fly populations first studied — and have found that as the global climate has warmed, the warm-weather genetic markers are becoming more and more common.

Of the 22 fly populations on three continents that experienced warming trends, 21 seem to have already evolved in response to the climactic shift.

Berkeley University: Understanding Evolution, Jul 2008

Still hope for tropical flies!

Scientists believe some tropical species may be able to evolve and adapt to the effects of climate change. The new findings published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests some sensitive rainforest-restricted species may survive climate change and avoid extinction.

But only if the change is not too abrupt and dramatically beyond the conditions that a species currently experiences. Dr Van Heerwaarden and Dr Carla M. Sgrò, from the Faculty of Science extended on an experiment from the 2000s in which tropical flies native to Australian rain forests called Drosophila birchii, were taken out of the damp rainforest and exposed to very dry conditions, mimicking the effects of potential climate change.

In the original experiment the flies died within hours and despite rescuing those that survived longest and allowing them to breed for over 50 generations, the flies were no more resistant, suggesting they didn’t have the evolutionary capacity to survive. Dr Sgrò said this finding suggests there is genetic variation present in these flies, which means they can evolve in response to climate change.

“Tropical species make up the vast majority of the world’s biodiversity and climactic models predict these will be most vulnerable to climate change. However these models do not consider the extent to which evolutionary response may buffer the negative impacts of climate change.”

“Our research indicates that the genes that help flies temporarily survive extreme dryness are not the same as those that help them resist more moderate conditions. The second set of genes are the ones that enable these flies to adapt,” she said. “We have much work to do but this experiment gives us hope that some tropical species have the capacity to survive climate change,” said Dr Sgrò.

Monash University, 29 Jul 2014

window closing

The chief UN climate negotiator has warned the world’s political leaders they must “act on the information provided by science” as they head to the Bali climate negotiations next month and foreshadowed that billions of dollars will need to be invested in clean energy.

Mr de Boer said there was a “window of opportunity of just 10 to 15 years to halt the march to dangerous climate change”.

Sydney Morning Herald, 21 Nov 2007

look out for falling buildings!

Tall buildings are engineered to survive SOME predictable historical weather conditions, (like 150 mph winds), but they can NOT endure the extreme never-before conditions that are becoming increasingly probably as a result of man-made climate change Pendulum-Swing Climate Change Chaos.

There has been a large upswing in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes, beginning in 1995. This corresponds directly to an increase in tropical North Atlantic Ocean surface water temperature, which is very-likely the Earth’s natural response to increasing man-made (anthropogenic) greenhouse gases, overpopulation, urbanization, deforestation, methane release, and huge megacity urban heat islands.

(Only 11% of all powerful tropical storms occur in the Atlantic, the rest are in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.)  The number of worldwide tropical-storm hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones has remained about the same over time, (at roughly 90 per year), BUT man-made Global Warming has caused the energy released by the average tropical storm to increase about 70% in the past three decades, corresponding to approximately a 15% increase in the maximum wind speed, and a 60% increase in storm duration – doing far-more damage over much-larger areas than most of the smaller tropical storms of only 30-years ago.

If this increasing storm intensity trend continues to get worse (as NASA scientists predict it will do in the 21ST Century), the worst-case engineering design specifications of almost all tall megacity buildings may be far exceeded. Emerald Eco City, 2010

see also – just plain scary

(c) Can Stock Photo

dog days

Global warming has been blamed for everything from an increase in hurricanes to rising sea levels and polar glacial activity.

Could it also be affecting the health and well-being of your dog?

The calamity of canine heartworm disease continues to prove deadly to dogs across the United States. What might be worse is that the warming of our planet may be contributing to the spread of this disease.

Canine heartworms are spread by more than 70 species of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes require warmth and humidity to survive and reproduce.

East Bay Times, 16 Mar 2009

trifecta of troubles

Ducks, geese and other migratory waterfowl face substantial population declines during this century in North America from a warmer climate and shrinking wetlands habitat caused by global warming, according to scientific research presented in a new National Wildlife Federation report.

The Waterfowler’s Guide to Global Warming reports that ducks and geese that use America’s flyways face “a trifecta of troubles caused by global warming,” says National Wildlife Federation President Larry Schweiger, “including major loss of prime breeding grounds, a reduction of coastal winter habitat and disruptions in migration.”

Global warming is setting up ducks and geese for a Pandora’s box of problems that could devastate populations across the nation, Schweiger says.

National Wildlife Federation, 14 Jun 2005

calling all climate warriors

The American Psychological Association also released a report in June about the psychological impacts of climate change. “Well-being is more than just the absence of injury or disease; it is also about human flourishing and resilience,” the report says.

Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist, has offered some tips on how to care for yourself when feeling climate change burn out. They include practical advice for anytime—exercise, spend time outside, eat healthy.

Her tips also have some specific points for dealing with climate change anxiety: Recognize that your fears are realistic, but don’t give up. And “connect with your fellow climate warriors to laugh and play games.” Just maybe keep the conversation clear from climate to keep the laughs coming.

Smithsonian, 5 Nov 2014

see also – action plan

oops

In March, European Union leaders agreed to set a binding climate-change target to make biofuel account for 10 per cent of all Europe’s transport fuels by 2020.

However, the executive branch of the European Union, the European Commission, has since admitted that the objective may have the unintended consequence of speeding up the destruction of tropical rainforests in South-East Asia, resulting in actually increasing, not reducing, global warming.

Research by Friends of the Earth shows up to 87 per cent of deforestation in Malaysia is a result of new oil-palm plantations.

Vast swathes of rainforest are also burnt annually on Borneo (part of both Malaysia and Indonesia), and on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, releasing millions of tones of carbon dioxide in the process.

Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Oct 2007

good weather for ducks?

Wild weather caused by climate change will hit Sydney’s poor, elderly and least-educated hardest, according to a new study mapping the city’s most vulnerable coastal regions.

Dr Benjamin Preston, a scientist with the CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation National Research Flagship, said the study was the first of its kind in Sydney. It would help emphasise the influence socio-economic factors have in determining the severity of climate change impacts.

The consequences of climate change will be influenced just as much by demographic factors, economic factors and future decisions regarding risk management as by changes in the climate system itself, Dr Preston said.

Elderly people, particularly those in units, were at an increased risk of death during heat waves, the study found. About 176 elderly people die from heat-related causes in Sydney each year. A report cited in the study predicted this could grow to more than 1000 deaths by the end of the century.

Sydney Morning Herald, 29 Apr 2008

see also – just plain scary

You’re going to need an ocean, of calamine lotion ….

Poison ivy is the number one outdoor skin allergy in the world and grows in every state in the country except California, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Now, local doctors say it’s more potent than ever, and it boils down to the air we breathe. With more carbon dioxide in the air today, the leaves grow larger, making the allergy-causing oils, supercharged.

It takes less than a grain of salt to cause red, itchy blisters that can last for weeks. Dr. Daniel Aires, director of dermatology at the University of Kansas Hospital, said he has seen more cases of poison ivy in his practice. kctv5, 17 Jun 2015

danger point passed

Environmentalists say scientific findings that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have already reached dangerous levels reinforce the urgency of cutting emissions.

Scientist and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery said an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report to be adopted next month shows the world passed a danger point in 2005, a decade earlier than expected.

“The longer we stay above the levels we’re at at the moment, the more likely it is that we would start to see the loss of the Great Barrier Reef, you would actually start to see the collapse of the great ice sheets and places iike the Amazon starting to burn down,” the policy direct of the Independent Climate Institute said.

“It’s going to require countries like Autralia to reverse our emissions within five years and head towards 80 to 90 per cent reductions by 2050,” he said.

Illawarra Mercury (Australia), 10 Oct 2007 – screen copy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

the black-throated diver, capercaillie and dotterel need to spread their wings!

The RSPB today called for urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid a ‘calamitous’ impact on birds.

A new report published today by the conservation charity shows that if climate change is not slowed down, the potential distribution of average bird species by the end of this century will shift nearly 342 miles (550km) to the north-east – equivalent to the distance from Plymouth to Newcastle.

Some species, including the black-throated diver, snow bunting, capercaillie and dotterel, could be left with few areas of suitable climate in the UK.

“To enable these potential new colonists to gain a foothold we must prepare for their arrival by giving them the habitat they need and the freedom from persecution they deserve,” said Mark Avery, the RSPB’s conservation director.

The Guardian, 15 Jan 2008

watch out for falling snails!

Nina Pinto is in no doubt that sea snails are tenacious creatures. To find out how strongly they could cling to the wall of a fish tank, the year 10 student from Hornsby Girls High glued tiny hooks to their shells.

She attached each snail to a pulley and added weights until its foot lost its grip and it dropped off.

Her purpose was to see if reductions in the water’s salinity – a possible consequence of climate change – affected the snails’ ability to hold on. As the salinity of the water decreased, so did the snails’ staying power.

“If sea levels rise there could also be stronger currents that pull them off,” she said. Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Oct 2007

watch out for speeding satellites

A primary cause of a warmer planet’s carbon dioxide emissions is having effects that reach into space with a bizarre twist.

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.

And while carbon dioxide molecules in the lower atmosphere release energy as heat when they collide, thereby warming the air, the sparser molecules in the upper atmosphere collide less frequently and tend to radiate their energy away, cooling the air around them.

With more carbon dioxide up there, more cooling occurs, causing the air to settle. So the atmosphere is less dense and creates less drag.Livescience, 16 Aug 2011

Vinegar flies behind the times

Drosophila, the vinegar fly, gives us clues about climate change, reports Geoff Maslen.

The insects are released in an area where there is no food resource other than a bucket of rotting banana mush. The students capture the flies with nets, put them in tubes and return to the laboratory where they are go under UV light and are separated.

Professor Hoffmann says that on a hot day the flies can travel up to 150 metres but in cold weather they move only a few metres from their release point. But what does all this effort prove?

“One way animals can counter the effects of climatic extremes is via physiological acclimation,” Professor Hoffmann says.

But acclimating to one extreme decreases their ability to survive under different conditions. If temperatures fluctuate, organisms acclimated to cold or hot conditions can suffer a decrease in fitness as temperatures move to the middle or the opposite extreme.

If you look at some of these specialist species that are very restricted in their distribution they don’t seem to have the adaptive potential, Professor Hoffmann says.

“As climate change comes in, those species will have lot more difficulty coping.”

The Age (Autralia), 25 Feb 2008

no clean bill of health

In a speech tonight to mark World Health Day, Dr Grant Blashki says climate change is already having direct and indirect effects on Australia’s health, and the problems are set to get worse.

His call for the medical profession to treat climate change as a health issue and address it as such is being echoed today around the country and the world, as the World Health Organisation chose “protecting health from climate change” as its theme.

Dr Blashki, a senior research fellow in the University of Melbourne’s Primary Care Research Unit, says general practitioners and other health care professionals will need to develop strategies to help patients deal with concerns. He said patients who came to him with depression or anxiety were increasingly citing climate change news as something they were having trouble coping with.

“These people tend to have a low threshold to taking on worries. When they pick up the paper and see a small part of Antarctica disintegrating, they take it on board,” he said. “They pick up on the negative things going on in the world. It comes down to maintaining hope, to get people motivated, not despairing. Action is a great stress reliever.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 7 Apr 2008

scientist nearly gives game away!

Climate change over the past two million years has boosted human evolution by forcing us to adapt to changing conditions and allowing us to migrate to new areas.

Researchers found that far from hindering our development, periods when the earth is either cooling or warming up have actually been highly beneficial.

Experts from the National History Museum and Cambridge University have identified five key time periods when shifts in global climate have resulted in accelerated social and genetic evolution.

Chris Stringer of London’s Natural History Museum and author of The Origin of Our Species told the Sunday Times: ‘Climate change has been a major player in our evolution. It created the conditions that encouraged our early ancestors to come down from the trees and later to spread out of Africa and across the globe. It made us what we are today.’

The Royal Society is holding a conference this week where details of recent research will be released. The scientists are keen to point out they are not suggesting that modern global warming is beneficial.

Daily Mail, 21 Nov 2011

swept along by inertia

We have already entered an era of dangerous climate change. We now know that the dynamics and inertia of our social and economic systems, if left unchecked or inadequately addressed, will sweep us on to ever more dangerous change and then, within a decade, to the start of an era of simply catastrophic climate change where humans wil lose all control over what happens and most of the globe becomes unliveable. (extract from Climate Code Red published by Friends of the Earth)

The Age (Australia), 6 Dec 2007 – screencopy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

London calling

Britain could be one high rise city by the end of the century due to the number of migrants who will move here because their own countries have become too hot, scientists have predicted.

If the world warms by an average of 4 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years, the worse case scenario suggested in certain climate change models, it is expected many areas in the south of the world will become too dry to support human life.

The nation is already a large city and it will become even larger, with that will come the need to support people. We do not want starving refugees – that will be worse – so we have to spend a lot of money on infrastructure, said James Lovelock.

His comments were supported by a number of scientists writing in the New Scientist, some of whom said the human race may not even survive the increase in temperatures.

The Telegraph, 26 Feb 2009

see also – just plain scary

giant icebergs!

A giant iceberg twice the length of Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” Stadium has been spotted floating off Australia and could be headed for New Zealand, scientists said on Thursday.

The ice chunk, measuring some 700 metres (2,300 feet) long with an estimated depth of 350 metres, caused a stir when it was sighted by experts based on Australia’s remote Macquarie Island.

“I’ve never seen anything like it — we looked out to the horizon and just saw this huge floating island of ice,” said fur seal biologist Dean Miller.

Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young said the flat-topped slab could break into dozens of smaller icebergs as it moves in the direction of New Zealand, causing a possible shipping hazard.

“It’s rare to make a sighting like this — it’s certainly impressive-looking,” Young told AFP. He said the iceberg had probably split from a major Antarctic ice shelf nine years ago, and said more could be expected in the area if global warming continues.

“If the current trends in global warming were to continue I would anticipate seeing more icebergs and the large ice shelves breaking up,” he added. Phys Org, 12 Nov 2009

the scheme that launched a thousand (and a half) ships

It should be possible to counteract the global warming associated with a doubling of carbon dioxide levels by enhancing the reflectivity of low-lying clouds above the oceans, according to researchers in the US and UK.

John Latham of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, US, and colleagues say that this can be done using a worldwide fleet of autonomous ships spraying salt water into the air.

Latham and colleagues calculate that, depending on exactly what fraction of low-level maritime clouds are targeted (with some regions, notably the sea off the west coasts of Africa and North and South America, more susceptible to this technique than others), around 1500 ships would be needed altogether to counteract a carbon doubling, at a cost of some £1m to £2m each.

This would involve an initial fleet expanding by some 50 ships a year if the scheme is to keep in step with the current rate of increase in atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels.

PhysicsWorld, 4 Sep 2008

see also – action plan

checkerspot butterfly paddles its own canoe!

The report last month from a butterfly conference in England was a bit different, however. It concerned the endangered quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino), well known for being threatened by climate change.

Many experts believed the species was doomed unless humans collected the butterflies and moved them north; their path to higher ground seemed to be blocked by the megalopolis of Los Angeles.

But at the conference, according to an account in the Guardian, Camille Parmesan of the Marine Sciences Institute at Plymouth University in the U.K., who has studied the quino checkerspot for years, reported that it had miraculously shifted its range to higher altitudes. Furthermore, it had somehow learned to lay its eggs on a new host plant.

“Every butterfly biologist who knew anything about the quino in the mid-1990s thought it would be extinct by now, including me,” Parmesan told the Guardian.

National Geographic, 6 May 2014

enemy identified!

Bolivian President Evo Morales said capitalism is to blame for global warming and the accelerated deterioration of the planetary ecosystem in a speech today opening an international conference on climate change and the “rights of Mother Earth.”

“The main cause of the destruction of the planet Earth is capitalism and in the towns where we have lived, where we respected this Mother Earth, we all have the ethics and the moral right to say here that the central enemy of Mother Earth is capitalism,” said Morales, who is Bolivia’s first fully indigenous head of state in the 470 years since the Spanish invasion.

Countercurrents.org, 21 Apr 2010

early bird butterflies

As Melbourne warms, the city’s butterflies are emerging at least 10 days earlier in spring than they did in 1945, according to research that reveals for the first time a causal link between increasing greenhouse gases, the city’s warming environment and the timing of a natural event.

Using emergence data on the common brown butterfly dating back 65 years, researchers from Melbourne University said the findings were unequivocal.

“There’s very little room to doubt that now,” said lead author Michael Kearney, of the zoology department. “Animals are doing things earlier because the climate is warming, because of human activity.”

The Age, 18 Mar 2010

blue-tongue moves north

A disease that normally only occurs in tropical or subtropical parts of the world made its first appearance in the UK last spring. It could be the first hard evidence that global warming is starting to change disease patterns around the world.

While this story carries an important message about human disease, this time at least, it was an animal disease that has moved. It’s the blue tongue virus, which affects cattle, sheep and goats.

It can be a devastating illness with up to a 70% mortality rate in sheep. The warmer temperatures have allowed blue tongue to gradually spread northwards in recent years, from Africa into southern Europe. That’s because the virus is carried by midges, which have headed north with the warmer weather.

But a shock came two years ago…blue tongue stopped following its well-predicted path and suddenly jumped into much colder northern Europe.

Professor Peter Mertens: An experienced veterinarian in Holland who saw a sick sheep and said: “Hey guys that looks like blue tongue to me, you know, out of the blue” and I imagine most people said “you’re kidding, it’s never been this far north”.

ABC (Australia) Catalyst, 8 May 2008

watch your step!

The country’s electricity and water supplies are at high risk from climate change, and immediate action is needed to prepare for the threat, a report presented to the Federal Government has warned.

Dams, roads, power stations and even paved footpaths are all at risk of damage from the increasing number of droughts and bushfires and rising sea levels during the next 30 to 50 years, said the report by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

“Adaptation to cope effectively with these situations is expected to require major investment with integrated, high-level strategic planning,” the report said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 7 Nov 2008

Is that a pizzly or a grolar?

What is clear is that warming is increasing many opportunities for gene mixing.

“As we’ve developed genomic methodologies, we’re finding that organisms are exchanging genes with other species,” Michael Arnold, a professor of genetics at the University of Georgia, said.

“Genetic exchange due to organisms coming together from climate change is the rule rather than the exception.”

Animals have been interbreeding for millennia. Even modern humans are the product of genetic exchange with Neanderthals some 60,000 years ago.

But the rate at which species interbreed is accelerating because of climate change, researchers say. As habitats and animal ranges change and bleed into one another, species that never before would have encountered one another are now mating.

Warmer temperatures have allowed grizzly bears and polar bears to venture to habitats they don’t usually occupy and mate to form a hybrid: the pizzly or grolar bear.

Scientific American, 1 Jun 2015

saved by the Earth’s shift!

A new warning has come to NASA from the Inuits. They are warning that the change in climate is not due to global warming but rather, because of the Earth shifting a bit.

The Inuits are local people that live in the Arctic regions of Canada, the United States and Greenland. They are excellent weather forecasters and so were their ancestors. Presently they are warning NASA that the cause of change in weather, earthquakes etc, are not due to global warming as the world thinks.

They state that the earth has shifted or “wobbled”. “Their sky has changed!” The elders declare that the sun rises at a different position now, not where it used to previously. They also have longer daylight to hunt now, the sun is much higher than earlier, and it gets warmer much quickly.

Other elders across the north also confirmed the same thing about the sky changing when interviewed. They also alleged that the position of sun, moon and stars have all changed causing changes in the temperature. This has also affected the wind and it is very difficult to predict the weather now and according to them predicting weather is necessary on Arctic.

All the elders confirmed that the Earth has shifted, wobbled or tilted toward the North. This information provided by the Inuit Elders has caused a great concern in the NASA scientists. White Wolf Pack, 5 Mar 2004

all in a good cause

Sports fields, car parks and parklands will be important assets; houses will have walls that open, and some people might need to lose their water views to prepare for bigger, more frequent floods due to global warming, according to experts contacted by the Herald.

There is consensus in the scientific literature that “the flooding that happens on small urban type of catchments, which is a result of short rainfall bursts, is going up, because convection is intensifying”, Professor Ashish Sharma, an Australian Research Council future fellow in the school of civil and environmental engineering at the University of NSW, said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Mar 2012

see also – action plan

that sinking feeling

Not only is the planet’s rising temperature melting massive glaciers, but it also seems to be thawing out the layer of permanently frozen soil below the ground’s surface. This thawing causes the ground to shrink and occurs unevenly, so it could lead to sinkholes and damage to structures such as railroad tracks, highways and houses.

Live Science, 16 Aug 2011

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