worm led team looks for fishy answers

Just a few years after scientists warned of impending ocean apocalypse, a handful of simple management tools have pulled some of Earth’s fisheries back from the edge of collapse, according to a review of global fish populations and catch data.

“In most cases, when you reduce fishing pressure enough, the stock rebounds. But there’s a breaking point beyond which the system has changed so much that it may not recover,” said Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Canada’s Dalhousie University.

In a paper published Thursday in Science, a Worm-led team of fisheries experts updated those findings, providing the most comprehensive analysis to date of global fisheries.
Wired, 30 Jul 2009

hotter and meaner

Naomi Klein, best selling author and social activist, said climate change would exacerbate social problems such as racism and inequality, predicting Australia would become “meaner” as it gets hotter.

“You see that in Australia where the treatment of migrants is a profound moral crisis,” she said. “It’s clear that as sea levels rise that this mean streak and open racism is going to become more extreme – climate change is an accelerant to all those other issues.”
The Guardian, 17 Aug 2015

thanks to ddh

beware of strangers bearing pavlovas

The Waitahuna River runs through one of the prettiest and most pristine corners of the world, the green rolling hills of Otago, in the deep south of the South Island of New Zealand.

But last November, strangers from the North Island came to the Waitahuna town hall bearing pavlovas and sandwiches. The representatives of the energy company TrustPower had arrived to present their plans to “steal our river”, says local deer farmer Steven Martin. “We might be simple country people, but we’re not stupid.”

TrustPower wants to pump the headwaters of the Waitahuna River and nearby Bungtown Creek uphill out of the valley and over two ridges into a lake to feed the existing Waipori hydro-electric power scheme. Martin says the proposal makes little commercial sense, except that it is subsidised by valuable carbon credits the New Zealand Government has awarded for the project.
Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Mar 2005

Ark put on hold!

According to maps published by National Geographic, Australia will get an inland sea if global warming continues and melts the world’s ice caps and glaciers, lifting sea levels about 70 metres.

The US-based organisation said it would take about 5000 years for all the ice to melt, although impacts will hit coastal communities much sooner – and having an inland sea won’t be much consolation to Australians.
Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Nov 2013

stay at home coral

As the ocean gets warmer, baby coral are becoming more reluctant to leave home. A Queensland study has found that as ocean temperatures rise more coral larvae may remain on their birth reefs rather than exploring the underwater world and finding a new system on which to settle.

Study co-author, James Cook University Professor Sean Connoly, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE), said this will make it more difficult for larger systems to recover after cyclones and coral bleaching because fewer larvae will disperse from other reefs.

“The loss of connectivity can make reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef more vulnerable,” Mr Connolly, said.
Illawarra Mercury (Australia), 30 Apr 2014 – screencopy held by this website

brother, you are not of the faith!

Martin Dix, senior research scientist at CSIRO Atmospheric Research in Aspendale, says measuring today’s greenhouse gas levels is one thing, but predicting future levels is an altogether different matter.

No scientific data, no matter how comprehensive, is ever going to produce anything like a definitive projection of how much greenhouse gases will continue to build in the atmosphere, nor of how the earth’s climate will behave as they do. Humankind is unpredictable and nature is chaotic.
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 Jun 2005

crocodile invasion – or maybe not

crocodileA Warming World Could Be a Crocodile-Infested One …there is one species that stands to gain from climate change: crocodiles. The heat-loving reptiles could thrive as the Earth gets hotter, growing not just in numbers but also in species variety, say British and U.S researchers in a new study.

“The past is the key to the present and the future,” said study coauthor Jon Tennant, a paleontologist at Imperial College London. “The only way we can really predict how future climate change is going to impact different groups of animals is by looking at historical fossil records revealed to us.”

“It won’t be an army of crocodiles popping up overnight, but we might see crocodiles in places we haven’t seen them before,” Tennant said. “It’s not like the movies where crocodiles take over the Earth, but we now have 23 species. In the future, we could see many different forms, or we might only see one or two new species.”
Yahoo News, 2 Oct 2015

do as I say, not as ….

The founders of the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet books, troubled that they have helped spread a casual attitude towards air travel that could trigger devastating climate change, are uniting to urge tourists to fly less.

Mark Ellingham, founder of the Rough Guide, and Melbourne based Tony Wheeler, who created Lonely Planet after taking the hippie trail across Asia, want travellers to “fly less and stay longer” and donate to cargon offsetting schemes.

But the two biggest travel publishers are refusing to give up flying and admit they are not models of environmental virtue. Asked if he felt guilty about the hunderds of flights he has undertaken, Mr Wheeler said: “Absolutely. I’m the worst example of it.”
The Sunday Age (Australia) 5 Mar 2006 – screencopy held by this website

in other words, trust us

Speaking at a Melbourne summit on the green economy, Professor Will Steffen criticised the media for treating climate change science as a political issue in which two sides should be given a voice.

While there were uncertainties about the pace and impact of change, he said, the core of climate science – that the world was warming and the primary cause since the middle of the last century had been industrial greenhouse gas emissions – should be accepted with the same confidence as the laws of gravity and relativity.

Asked about the scepticism of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, he said scientists respected leaders from both sides of politics who showed respect for scientific expertise.
Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2010

pity the poor wood warbler!

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and other conservation bodies have regularly warned that climate shifts could have a devastating impact on some species.

Three years ago, Marcel Visser from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Heteren collated a number of cases. The North American wood warbler has not adapted its migration pattern to the earlier emergence of caterpillars in its breeding ground, and the Dutch honey buzzard is also failing to adapt to the earlier appearance of wasps, which it eats. BBC News, 8 May 2008

no flies on them!

The pesky little flies that hover around rotting fruit could act as a sensitive warning system for the effects of global warming.

Professor Ary Hoffmann, a member of the La Trobe and Monash University team that studied the vinegar flies, said the changes in the genetic composition of the fly populations because of hotter conditions was surprisingly rapid.

The researchers sampled flies from Tasmania to far north Queensland, visiting farms, fruit shops and some supermarkets. “We’d go in with a net and ask where they dumped their rotten fruit,” Professor Hoffmann said.

They then studied the genes, including one called Adh that is linked to metabolism.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30 Apr 2005

salps move in for the krill

Human activity is driving changes in the world’s oceans at a rate not seen for several million years, a series of reports has concluded.

Oscar Schofield, of Rutgers University in the US, said environmental change had been “profound” in the West Antarctic Peninsula and was altering the food chain on which whales in this polar region depend.

Blooms of phytoplankton, or microscopic plants, had decreased by 12 per cent in the past 30 years, and the size of the cells had also shrunk.

This had allowed jellyfish-like creatures called salps, which find it easier to feed on the small cells, to start to replace shrimp-like krill, on which whales depend for food. The Age (Australia), 18 Jun 2010

pot calling the kettle ….

Bill Moyers, the founding director of Public Affairs Television in Washington, retired three months ago, one of the United States’ most honoured journalists. Harvard Medical School that same month named him the recipient of its fourth annual Global Environmental Citizen Award.

“Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven. Ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.” Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Mar 2005

their burp is worse than their ….

beef_cattleScientists from NSW’s Department of Primary Industries have been working for the past 15 years to find a way to breed more efficient beef cattle. After a decade of research, the scientists came up with a blood analysis that has been developed into a commercial test for selecting bulls able to breed the most food-efficient cows and steers.

Although it has been developed to cut farming costs, the scientists now believe the burp-reduced cattle will also help fight global warming, because methane is also a greenhouse gas, many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The leader of the department’s methane research effort, Roger Hegarty, said it may be possible to develop other methane-efficient animals, including sheep. Dr Hegarty estimated 95 per cent of methane from beef cattle was belched. The rest, he said, was “flatulence”.
Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Jun 2006

I’ve told you a hundred million times, don’t exaggerate!

The day will soon come when we shall be roused from our beds, not by the ringing of the alarm clock, but by the rising sea levels slapping us on our slumbering faces. That is how serious global warming is. What makes it worse is that we shall all be so morbidly obese by then we won’t be able to rise from our beds to save ourselves.

There is absolutely, positively no question whatsoever that we are in the midst of a climate change crisis. It is also categorically and undeniably beyond any dispute that it is man-made. Maybe.
The Age (Australia), 13 Nov 2006

We’re all doomed!

In a world of celebrity filled with sportsmen and actors, Tim Flannery is a rare breed indeed; a celebrity scientist, explorer and writer dubbed the “Indiana Jones of science”.

“We were sliding into a crisis, without anyone knowing. It’s a dire situation which could lead to the collapse of our global civilisation. If we don’t get on top of the problem this decade, we won’t.”

Although he says his book has been well-received by the Australian public, he is disappointed at the lack of political action. “There’s a moral paralysis in both parties,” Flannery says, in typically outspoken fashion. “In the absence of legislative change, we’re doomed.”
The Sydney Morning Herald 24 May 2006 (Tim Flannery was Australia’s first (and last) Climate Commissioner)

stating the obvious

turtle

The male sea turtle is a rather promiscuous creature, so it suits him to be naturally outnumbered by the female of the species. But the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is wondering if male turtles will be so outnumbered in future the species will fail to breed.

The authority is concerned that global warming will push up the temperature of turtle eggs as they incubate in sand. The warmer the egg, the more likely the hatchling will be female.

“While the natural population can be female-skewed,” says the authority’s species conservation unit manager Dr Kirstin Dobbs, “males obviously play a key role.”

The Age (Australia), 17 Nov 2005

less gray whales

………………………………….
As many as 118,000 gray whales roamed the Pacific before humans decimated the population through hunting, and human-induced climate change may now be depriving those that remain of the food they need, according to a study released yesterday.

There definitely are large-scale ecosystem effects going on, said Stanford doctoral student S. Elizabeth Alter, the lead author, in an interview yesterday.
Washington Post, 11 Sep 2007

more gray whales

The number baby gray whales born along the Pacific Coast has increased over the past five years, leading scientists to believe that for now pregnant females are doing all right feeding in a warming Arctic environment.

“In the short term they appear to be doing well, based on our monitoring of reproduction. But we really don’t know how th elong term warming ttrend is going to affect this population,” saidWayne Perryman, a fisheries biologist with NOAA in La Jolla (San Diego County).
SFGate, 28 Jun 2006
………………………………….

see also – having it both ways

pity the poor immigrant

A California anti-immigration group has created a multimedia ad campaign blaming immigrants for climate change and environmental degradation in California.

Californians for Population Stabilization, or CAP, argues that immigrants, legal and illegal, increase their carbon footprint four-fold when they move to the US and “Americanize” their consumption habits, thus exacerbating climate problems.

According to CAP President Diane Hull, “Californians [have] made significant progress in energy conservation over the last couple of decades. However, the progress has been mitigated by massive population growth over the same period, driven by immigration and births to immigrants.”
Triple Pundit, 10 Nov 2009

one swallow doesn’t make…

In what experts say is the first documented evidence of the species “overwintering” here, a solitary swallow has been monitored from November to the end of February in a village near Truro, Cornwall.

Paul Stancliffe, a spokesman for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), called the discovery “incredible”. As further evidence of climate change, volunteers have also recorded “early returns” by many migrants this year, as well as unseasonably early nesting by birds that ordinarily remain here.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Mar 2008

more tipping points than a see saw

see_sawEarth may be approaching its points of no return. As Arctic sea ice hits a record low, focus is turning to climate ”tipping points” – a threshold that, once crossed, cannot be reversed and will create fundamental changes to other areas.

“It’s a trigger that leads to more warming at a regional level, but also leads to flow-on effects through other systems,” said Will Steffen, the chief adviser on global warming science to Australia’s Climate Commission. There are about 14 known “tipping elements”, according to a paper published by the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Age (Australia), 23 Sep 2012

beware of lurking frog finders

Melbourne Water has encouraged volunteers to record frog calls in their local areas. Armed with digital recorders, a small army of dedicated “frog finders” will lurk at local waterholes to seek out vociferous amphibians.

The annual frog census, now in its ninth year, was launched at Werribee Zoo yesterday as part of World Animal Day. Melbourne Water’s manager of waterways, Chris Chesterfield, said frogs were a key barometer of environmental health but climate change was taking its toll.
Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Oct 2009

ban cities!

In the concrete jungle at the core of a city, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are dominated by the fossil fuels burned by the dense concentrations of cars and buildings.

Boston University researchers now have shown, however, that in metropolitan areas surrounding the city core, plant roots and decomposing organic material in soil give off enough CO2, in a process termed “soil respiration,” to make an unexpectedly great contribution to total emissions.

“When people mulch their landscaped areas or fertilize their lawns, they’re putting out yummy fresh highly decomposable carbon that soil microbes can use,” says Pamela Templer, Associate Professor of Biology. “And that’s stimulating microbial growth and loss of CO2 out of these urban soils.”

Science Daily, 23 Feb 2016

thanks to ddh

anyone remember when the word science meant science?

The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (UK) prohibit discrimination in the workplace by reason of any religion or belief. The regulations were amended in 2007, so that “belief” now means “any religious or philosophical belief”.

Tim Nicholson claimed that he was dismissed from his position because of his extremely strongly held belief that it is necessary to significantly reduce carbon emissions in order to avoid a global catastrophe.

In today’s ruling, Mr Justice Michael Burton decided that: “A belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperatives, is capable if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations.”

“Under those regulations it is unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their religious or philosophical beliefs.”

Personnel Today, 27 May 2009

scientific proof!

“Anzac Day, April 25, is a temperature marker for me because for many years I’ve risen at much the same time, for more than a decade as a reporter to cover the dawn services and later because I have become, since my misspent 20s, an early riser.”

“It is beyond doubt that Anzac Days these days are not as cold as they used to be. As a young reporter out and about at six on Anzac Day morning I’d be wearing every piece of warm clothing I could find and long costs were common, but the change has been such that these days the most that’s required is a light jacket and if coats are worn it’s for formal reasons.”
Jeff Corbett, reporter, Newcaste Herald (Australia), 5 Jun 2007 – screen copy held by this website

climate change is like a wet blanket

According to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, warmer weather means less “coital frequency.” “Extreme heat leads to a sizable fall in births,” the study says.

“Temperature extremes could affect coital frequency. It could affect hormone levels and sex drives. Alternatively, high temperatures may adversely affect reproductive health or semen quality on the male side or ovulation on the female side,” say the three economists from Tulane University, University of California and University of Central Florida who wrote the paper.

In the paper, Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks, Climate Change and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates, the researchers predict that “increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century.”

Looking at 80 years of U.S. fertility and temperature data, they found that “additional days above 80 degrees Fahrenheit cause a large decline in birth rates approximately eight to 10 months later.” And these would-be parents often do not “make up for lost time in subsequent, cooler months,” reports Bloomberg.
EcoWatch, 4 Nov 2015

thanks to Peter

life not a box of….

chocolateAll signs point to a pretty terrifying future for the world if scientists’ warnings about climate change continue to fall on deaf ears. But now, it looks like our inability to address climate change adequately might cost us one of the world’s most pure, innocent, and wonderful pleasures: chocolate.

According to Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company, our growing love for chocolate might mean “a potential cocoa shortage by 2020.” But the shortage isn’t just about the world going crazy for chocolate — it also has a lot to do with climate change…. Higher temperatures mean that more water evaporates into the air from leaves and earth, leaving less behind for cocoa trees — a process called “evapotranspiration.”
Salon, 20 Nov 2014

thanks to Peter

climate change causes mixed metaphors!

Commenting on the report, United States Secretary of State John Kerry said: “This is yet another wake-up call. Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire. This is science, these are facts, and action is our only option.”

“If this isn’t an alarm bell, then I don’t know what one is. If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Sep 2013

one of the four horsemen gets a run!

4_horsemenUp to 300,000 Australians on average may annually be exposed to the dengue virus by 2020, and between 600,000 and 1.4 million by 2050, according to climate change predictions finalised yesterday by global scientists. CSIRO climate change scientist Kevin Hennessy, a lead author on the report’s Australian chapter, was in Brussels for behind-closed-doors talks to finalise the summary.

This should help governments, industries and the community to begin planning responses to climate change, Mr Hennessy said. “But there are likely to be considerable cost and institutional constraints (on finding solutions) … Water security and coastal communities are the most vulnerable sectors.”
The Age(Australia), 7 Apr 2007

missed it by that much!

Last year a series of lakes formed on the vast body of ice that covers most of Greenland. Acting like a lubricant, the water quickly made its way to the base of the ice sheet, forcing giant slabs of ice to rise, then slide into the ocean. The speed at which the ice broke off shocked many scientists.

“We used to think that it would take 10,000 years for melting at the surface of an ice sheet to penetrate down to the bottom. Now we know it doesn’t take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds,” says Richard Alley, a professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.
Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Feb 2007