mound-building Mallee fowl takes a hit!

For nearly 20 years, Joe Benshemensh has been monitoring the mound-building Mallee fowl, trying to discern what’s killing them off, and whether they have a future.

“If climate change is a reality then the prognosis is dire. On the other hand, they have a geographic range that gives us some hope they won’t be eliminated, just take a severe hit. Our big challenge is to modify the monitoring program, to actively preserve them.”

The Sunday Age (Australia), 1 Jun 2008 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – tides!

Global sea levels have risen faster than previously thought over the past century, suggesting that climate change is having a greater than expected impact on the rising oceans, a study has found.

Previously, researchers gathered tide gauge records from around the world, averaged them together from different regions and then averaged those rates together again to create a global estimate, said Dr Eric Morrow of Harvard University.

“But these simple averages aren’t representative of a true global mean value. Tide gauges are located along the coasts, therefore large areas of the ocean aren’t being included in these estimates and the records that do exist commonly have large gaps,” he said.
Independent, 15 Jan 2015

true believers rocked!

“It’s time to get over big government. I know most Australians did so aeons ago but a few hold-outs, such as myself, kept the faith.

The Government’s wimpish response to the crisis of climate change has rocked the faith of the true believers. We can’t wait any longer for government to provide leadership, the price signals and incentives push us towards a simpler life.

If the planet is to be saved it will have to start at the bottom, with people deciding to change the way they live. People power, we can only hope will embolden the Government to do the right thing.

It would seem that whatever personal action we take to reduce our carbon footprint – buy a hybrid car, install solar heating, give up meat – will be negated by a Chinese family now rich enough to buy its first car and first fridge, who will replace the carbon dioxide we have virtuously reduced.”

Adele Horin, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

human civilisation threatened!

Zoe Rogers warns that, at this very moment, the fate of life on Earth hangs in the balance.

A member of Climate Action Newcastle, Ms Rogers said carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was already too high at 387 parts per million and levels were increasing at an alarmong rate.

“According to eminent climate scientists such as NASA’s James Hansen, current business as usual greenhouse gas emissions would result in an increase of more than six degrees by 2100. Under this scenario, the damage to the planet would be irreversible, with the majority of species wiped out and human civilisation threatened.”

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 22 Nov2008 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – ice sheet decay!

NASA scientists are now warning that recent projections seem too conservative: Since 1992, sea levels have increased by an average of 3 inches around the world.

Three years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that by 2100 sea levels could rise 28 to 98 centimeters (11 to 38 inches), depending on the volumes of greenhouse gases emitted.

“We’ve never seen anything on that scale before,” says Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “I was in awe.”

“The IPCC projections produce conservative scenarios of ice-sheet decay, because those models do not yet include the fast melt [of ice] into the ocean that would prevail during times of rapid or catastrophic ice sheet retreat,”

National Geographic, 27 Aug 2015

time is up for sheep and cattle!

In his report on climate change released at the beginning of the month, Professor Garnaut said that the price of beef and land would soar to a point where only wealthy households could afford beef.

Citing research, he said kangaroo meat “Could again become important” and that if a way to reduce methane emissions from livestock wasn’t found, 7 million cattle and 36 million sheep could be replaced by 175 million farmed kangaroos.

Kangaroos produce no methane, and the other environmental benefit is that kangaroos have soft feet, which means less damage to the land and less soil erosion compared to sheep and cattle.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 15 Oct 2008 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – Albatross nests

Climate Change May Swallow Albatross’ Nesting Grounds Sooner Than We Thought. Bigger storms caused by rising seas will flood seabird nests long before their colonies are actually submerged—and albatrosses may be too stubborn to adapt. All of which adds up to trouble for the birds—and soon.

“When you include the storm wave piece on top of the sea level rise piece, the impacts happen a lot earlier,” says Nat Seavy, research director of bird conservation non-profit Point Blue (he was not involved in the research). “And sea level rise is happening even faster than predicted, which means that these impacts will happen even sooner.”

Audubon, 8 Oct 2015

hot enough to fry an egg!

In 50 years, summers across most of the globe could regularly be hotter than any summer experienced so far by people alive today, according to a study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

If climate change continues on its current trajectory, the probability that any summer between 2061 and 2080 will be warmer than the hottest on record is 80 percent across the world’s land areas, excluding Antarctica, which was not studied.

If greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, however, that probability drops to 41 percent, according to the study.

“Extremely hot summers always pose a challenge to society,” said NCAR scientist Flavio Lehner, lead author of the study. “They can increase the risk for health issues, but can also damage crops and deepen droughts. Such summers are a true test of our adaptability to rising temperatures.”

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “Future summers could regularly be hotter than the hottest on record.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2016

thanks to David Mulberry

worse than we thought – catastrophic damages!

The world is now on track to experience more catastrophic damages from climate change than in the worst-case scenario forecast by international experts, scientists have warned.

The research, published in a prestigious US science journal, shows that between 2000 and 2004 the rate of increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels was three times greater than in the 1990s.

Emissions are increasing faster than we thought, which means the impacts of climate change will also happen even sooner than expected, said Dr Raupach, a co-chairman of the Global Carbon Project, based at the CSIRO in Canberra.

The Age, 22 May 2007

Climate conference emits hot air!

Amid talk of offsetting the hefty carbon footprint of the United Nations climate conference in Bali, organisers missed a large elephant in the room.

The air-conditioning system installed to keep more than 10,000 delegates cool used highly damaging refrigerant gases – as lethal to the atmosphere as 48,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and nearly the equivalent of the emissions of all aircraft used to fly delegates to Indonesia.

In addition, the refrigerant is a potent greenhouse gas, with each kilogram at least as damaging as 1.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Investigators at the Balinese resort complex at Nusa Dua counted 700 cylinders of the gas, each of them weighing 13.5 kilograms, and the system was visibly leaking.

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Dec 2007

worse than we thought – dire global consequences!

The Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications report, released today, outlines dire global consequences of a warming Arctic that are far worse than previous projections.

The report shows that numerous arctic climate feedbacks – negative effects prompted by the impacts of warming — will make global climate change more severe than indicated by other recent projections, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 assessment.

“We need to listen now to these signals from the Arctic, and take the necessary action in Copenhagen this December to get a deal that quickly and effectively limits greenhouse gas emissions,” said James Leape, director general of WWF International. WWF Global, 2 Sep 2009

worse than we thought – soot!

Soot worse for global warming than thought.

Grains of soot deposited in snow have also caused about one-quarter of the observed rise in global surface temperature since 1880, suggests the model by James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko. The pair examined how soot particles affect the atmosphere when they darken snow and ice.

The effect of soot on snow is unambiguous,” Hansen told New Scientist. “It causes a strong warming effect.”

New Scientist, 22 Dec 2003

pull up the moat!

A report done by University of NSW’s Dr Mark Diesendorf found energy efficiency to be a key way to cut greenhouse emissions.

Commissioned by Greenpeace, the report is based on the premise that to prevent global average temperatures from rising above 2C over pre-industrial levels, the world must cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.

To do that, interim targets are vital, with several estimates suggesting developed nations such as Australia must cut pollution by at least 30 per cent relative to 1990 levels by 2020.

To achieve the 30 per cent cut, more controversial measures such as an end to land clearing, a 20 per cent cut in beef production to reduce the effect of methane from cattle, a 50 per cent cut in business and professional immigration, and the elimination or offset of emissions from aluminium smelting would be needed.

Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Oct 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – ice at both poles!

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, a group of scientists has issued an update on the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their conclusions? Ice at both poles is melting faster than predicted, the claims of recent global cooling are wrong, and world leaders must act fast if steep temperature rises are to be avoided.

The report — titled “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” — finds that in several key areas observed changes are outstripping the most recent projections by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warns that “there is a very high probability of the warming exceeding 2 °C unless global emissions peak and start to decline rapidly” within the next decade.

Elizabeth Kobert, Environment360, 24 Nov 2009

a green politician thinks the unthinkable!

The Greens leader, Bob Brown, says he fears a “tentative and ineffective” emissions trading scheme will be developed by the Federal Government and it could be worse than no trading scheme at all.

Senator Brown outlined the essentials any trading system must have to win the support of his party, which holds five of the critical seven balance of power votes in the Senate.

“The penalty clause for us not acting is almost unthinkable,” he said. “This planet, this country, is on the verge of cataclysmic times, such as the human collective experience has never known. I’m not talking as a green politician. I am talking on the basis of the experience, the study, and the dire warnings from the world’s best thinkers.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

a new environmental warrior!

Stand aside Al Gore, there’s a new environmental warrior on the scene and his name is Jason Kimberley. He’s the photographer, author and Antarctic explorer who has a chilling message about the future of this planet and he’s delivering it via the movement he’s created, Cool Melbourne.

“I want to make sure all Melburnians know how poorly we’re treating our environment and how we need to improve,” an ardent Kimberley told Diary.

So what has Kimberley done to reduce the number of black balloons he sends up and away? He’s switched to a hybrid car, double-glazed his windows, installed solar heating and a water tank, bought friendly appliances, adn started a vegie patch. The Cool Melbourne websote says kiddies can do their bit by eating “nude food” – swapping plastic wrap and foil for reusable containers. Even adults can go nude (in a culinary sense).

The Age (Australia), 13 May 2008 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – methane!

New studies about the warming of the planet and the risk of massive release of methane from the Arctic are “worse than we thought.”

The expedition team SWERUS-C3, the Swedish-Russian-US Arctic Ocean Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere-Carbon was led by chief scientist Örjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University, who early on during the expedition remarked: “This was somewhat of a surprise.”

As such, the deadly combination of warming oceans and tenuous ice shelves that contain humongous quantities of methane may result in the “perfect storm” for runaway global warming, but nobody knows for sure.

Once again, that’s a key point: Nobody knows for sure. What is known is that the elements that lead to runaway global warming are “worse than we thought.”

Counterpunch, 20 Oct 2014

worse than we thought – CO2 emissions!

These proclamations, amazingly, go on and on, but one of the biggest, and almost completely unknown beyond the world of science, is that our CO2 emissions today are worse than the worst-case scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This was first revealed in the scholarly community in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in March of 2007 by a team of seven international scientists led by senior scientist Dr. Michael Raupach at the Australian National Science Program (CSIRO: The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization).

“Climate change is proceeding ten times faster than we (the climate scientists) had predicted .” Dr. Konrad Steffen, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Climate Change Now, Bruce Melton, June 2010

get with the trend!

Women’s concerns are getting a limited focus in efforts to curb climate change, experts said. Statistics from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) suggest that of the total project proposals on curbing climate change submitted to the GEF in 2014, only 18 percent addressed gender issues.

Carla Lopez the executive director of the Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres, a women’s fund based in Central America, doesn’t think the effort to link up threats to women and threats to the climate is simply an “attempt to grab the money” that is becoming available to deal with climate change.

Women’s organisations “are shifting to climate change because they see the reason as genuine, not because that is where the money is”, she said.

The problem facing many women’s groups in securing funding, she said, is that many do not know how to describe clearly the climate connection to their project – even though the links are there.

Reuters, 12 May 2016

thanks to ddh

worse than we thought – climate heating!

The climate is heating up far faster than scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries like China and India, a top climate scientist said on Saturday.

The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we’ve considered seriously, Chris Field, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Field said “the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious” than any of the climate predictions in the IPCC’s fourth assessment report called “Climate Change 2007.”

Reuters, 4 Feb 2009

kissing cousins?

Chris Servheen, a bear biologist and Adjunct Associate Research Professor at the University of Montana, is among a group of scientists who believe climate change is causing the polar and grizzly bears to come into contact more often.

“As you know, as the climate warms there is less and less sea ice in the Arctic,” he said. “And also what’s happening is that grizzly bears seem to be moving further north, we’re seeing their range extend further north toward the coast of the Arctic both in Alaska and in Canada.”

“The result is you have polar bears spending more time on land and grizzly bears spending more time where polar bears might be, and so the result is that we’re seeing these occasional hybrids between two species.”

ABC News (Australia), 19 May 2016

thanks to ddh

worse than we thought – time left for humanity!

There’s even less time for humanity to try to curb global warming than recently thought, according to a new in-depth scientific assessment by 26 scientists from eight countries.

Sea level rise, ocean acidification and the rapid melting of massive ice sheets are among the significantly increased effects of human-induced global warming assessed in the survey, which also examines the emissions of heat-trapping gases that are causing the climate change.

Mother nature puts a limit on how long you can dither and procrastinate, climatologist Richard Somerville, one of the study’s authors, told ABC News.
abcnews (US), 24 Nov 2009

freedom questioned

An emotional public debate is currently raging in Germany on whether to do away with a “national icon” – driving as fast as you can on the country’s autobahn or motorways

…a growing number of Germans are now questioning this “freedom”, arguing that it makes no sense calling for measures to curb global warming in other countries while at home motorists can effortlessly continue spewing large amounts of C02 into the atmosphere at the speeds they are allowed to travel

…the head of Germany’s Federal Environmental Office, Andreas Troge, says a speed limit of 120 km/h on motorways “costs nothing and would immediately reduce C02 emissions by 2.5 million tonnes per year”.

The Age (Australia), 17 Nov 2007

worse than we thought – catastrophic damages!

The world is now on track to experience more catastrophic damages from climate change than in the worst-case scenario forecast by international experts, scientists have warned.

The research, published in a prestigious US science journal, shows that between 2000 and 2004 the rate of increase in global carbon dioxide emissions form fossil fuels was three times greater than in the 1990s.

That is faster than even the worst-case scenario modelled by the world’s leading sientist in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, published over recent months, because updated emissions figures were not available in time to be included.

Senior CSIRO scientist Michal Raupauch, who led the international research on accelerating global emissions, told the Age that the findings were “dreadful”. “Emissions are increasing faster than we thought, which means the impacts of climate change will also happen even sooner than expected.”

The Age (Australia), 22 May 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – California sinking!

California is sinking even faster than scientists had thought, new NASA satellite imagery shows. Some areas of the Golden State are sinking more than 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) per month, the imagery reveals.

Though the sinking, called subsidence, has long been a problem in California, the rate is accelerating because the state’s extreme drought is fueling voracious groundwater pumping.

“Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records,” Mark Cowin, director of California’s Department of Water Resources, said in a statement. “As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly, and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage.”

Yahoo News, 23 Aug 2015

Say that again?

A widely reported “pause” in global warming may be an artefact of scientists looking at the wrong data, says a climate scientist at the European Space Agency.

Stephen Briggs from the European Space Agency’s Directorate of Earth Observation says that surface air temperature data is the worst indicator of global climate that can be used, describing it as “lousy”.

“The models don’t have the skill we thought they had. That’s the problem,” said Peter Jan van Leeuwen, director of the National Centre of Earth Observation at the University of Reading.

The Guardian, 14 Jun 2014

worse than we thought – Colorado River!

Colorado river is collapsing ‘sooner than anyone thought’. Water resource experts have known for many years that current use of the Colorado River is not sustainable.

This past spring was an unusually wet one, leading to higher-than-average runoff from river’s source in the Rocky Mountains. Yet even at atypically high levels, the river still ran dry before reaching its outlet at the Gulf of California.

All of which suggests that the elaborate water distribution system that sustains the cities and farms of the Southwest may be collapsing sooner than anyone expected.

Natural News, 10 Aug 2015

Amazon forests greener

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Amazon rainforests green-up with sunlight in dry season. We analyzed Amazon vegetation phenology at multiple scales with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectoradometer (MODIS) satellite measurements from 2000 to 2005.

MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index(EVI, an index of canopy photosynthetic capacity) increased by 25% with sunlight during the dry season across Amazon forests… Alfredo R. Huete and others, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 33, issue 6, March 2006

Amazon forests not greener

Amazon forests did not green up during the 2005 drought. We find no evidence of large scale greening of intact Amazon forests during the 2005 drought – approximately 11-12% of these drought stricken forests display greening while 28-29% show browning or no change, and for the rest the data are not of sufficient quality to characterize any changes. Arindam Samana and others, Geophysical Research Letters Vol 37, issue 5, March 2010
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