more tipping points

An average global temperature rise of 7.2F (4C), considered a dangerous tipping point, could happen by 2060, causing droughts around the world, sea level rises and the collapse of important ecosystems.

The Arctic could see an increase in temperatures of 28.8F (16C), while parts of sub Saharan Africa and North America would be devastated by an increase in temperature of up to 18F (10C).

Britain’s temperature would rise by the average 7.2F (4C) which would mean Mediterranean summers and an extended growing season for new crops like olives, vines and apricots.

However deaths from heat waves will increase, droughts and floods would become more common, diseases like malaria may spread to Britain and climate change refugees from across the world are likely to head to the country.

Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said the new study showed how important it was to try and reduce emissions.

The Telegraph (UK), 27 Sep 2009

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

stable shoreline slips away

“More ominous tipping points loom. West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are vulnerable to even small additional warming. These two-mile-thick behemoths respond slowly at first, but if disintegration gets well under way, it will become unstoppable. Debate among scientists is only about how much sea level would rise by a given date.

In my opinion, if emissions follow a business-as-usual scenario, sea level rise of at least two meters is likely within a century. Hundreds of millions of people would become refugees, and no stable shoreline would be reestablished in any time frame that humanity can conceive.”
Dr James Hansen, Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near on Global Warming, Huffington Post, 07/01/2008 , Updated May 25, 2011

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

Comment – adapting to a change of climate

The Australian federal government has proposed a restructure of its science agency, the CSIRO, to place more emphasis on practical measures rather than environmental research.

But the proposal has met resistance including University of Melbourne earth scientist Kevin Walsh who said: “It is incorrect to say that the climate change science problem is solved, and now all we need to do is figure out what to do about it. No working climate scientist believes that.”
The Australian, 5 Feb 2016

It seems that if you ask questions about climate change you’re told that the science is settled.

But if you want to trim the budget of a government science agency you suddenly find that the science isn’t settled.

………………………………….

tipping point passed

“Today I testified to Congress about global warming, 20 years after my June 23, 1988 testimony, which alerted the public that global warming was underway. There are striking similarities between then and now, but one big difference. The difference is that now we have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb.

The next president and Congress must define a course next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for the present dangerous situation.

Otherwise it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity’s control.”

Dr James Hansen, Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near on Global Warming, Huffington Post, 07/01/2008 , Updated May 25, 2011

staring down barrel

pig_in_barrel“And how far will it go? Climate forecasts have long noted that every increase in global temperature heightens the odds of runaway global warming, beyond any human control. Continued overheating could unlock more methane from Arctic regions beyond Siberia.

It could cripple the vital ability of plants and oceans to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, turning them into gushing sources of new CO2 that accelerate the superheating even further. The ice caps that help cool the Earth by reflecting sunlight into space could vanish. In the end, the relentless rise in temperature could induce a cataclysmic venting of billions of tons of methane from the oceans.

It seems likely that we are staring down the barrel of the full force, worst-case scenarios studied by the IPCC and other research organizations”
alternet.org, 12 Oct 2005

deluge!

Boston and Atlantic City, New Jersey could experience the equivalent of a once-in-100-years flood as frequently as every year or two, according to the report by the Union of Concerned Scientists and a team of more than 50 researchers and economists.

Only western Maine would retain a reliable ski season by the end of the century if emissions are at the higher end of the scientists’ projections, the report said. Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the scientists’ group and chair of the research team that worked on the report.
bloomberg.com 12 Jul 2007

uninhabitable planet!

uninhabited_planetThe world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a “different, practically uninhabitable planet” by triggering a “low-end runaway greenhouse effect.”

This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world’s best known climate scientist.
The Guardian, 10 Jul 2013

but some like it hot!

holiday_makerDr David Viner, of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said that Mediterranean resorts would become no-go areas for holidaymakers in the summer months due to rising temperatures.

As a result, tourists would soon be forced to shift further north for summer holidays, to regions such as northern France, the Baltic and the UK.
The Telegraph, (UK), 19 Nov 2005