warning! Don’t question a scientist!

What’s even more deflating for a climate scientist is when sounding the alarm on climatic catastrophes seems to fall on deaf ears.

“How would that make you feel? You take this information to someone and they say they don’t believe you, as if it’s a question of beliefs,” says Jeffrey Kiehl, senior scientist for climate change research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

“I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about facts. It’s equivalent to a doctor doing extremely detailed observations on someone and concluding that someone needed to have an operation, and the person looks at the doctor and says, ‘I don’t believe you.’ ”

“How would a doctor feel in that moment, not think, but feel in that moment?”

Heat Is Online – originally Grist.org, Oct. 28, 2014 By Madeleine Thomas

wait…there is good news!

We all know about the threat to the Great Barrier Reef from extreme climate change, but the Australian Conservation Foundation wants to ram home to Victorians that the effects of a hotter world will hit much closer to home, according to executive director Don Henry, and the report, Saving Australia’s Special Places

  • 1. Wine drinkers will see the regions that produce their favourite tipple, such as Victoria’s Yarra Valley, suffering from less water and more bushfire, weeds, pests and plant diseases. Australia’s grape-growing areas will decline by 44% by the middle of the century, and grape quality will nose-dive.
  • 2. Skiers will face the gradual disappearance of snow. By the end of the century, the winter sports industry, which employs 17,000 people and adds $1.3 billion to the economy, will have disappeared as the snow simply fails to fall.
  • 3. Beaches, near which Australians tend to cluster their housing, and on which we rely heavily for recreation, will suffer erosion and flooding.
  • 4. The report predicts that “$50 billion to 150 billion worth of houses, property, businesses, and public infrastructure are under threat from flooding due to sea level rises”.
  • 5. The Kakadu wetlands are in danger of inundation by salt water, with a 59-centimetre sea level rise to hit about 90% of the national park and up to 88% of species in the bush facing extinction.
  • 6. Increasingly fierce and frequent bushfires will sweep areas that were hitherto immune.
  • 7. The Murray Darling Basin, already suffering an extended drought and over-allocation of water licences, will lose 92% of its agricultural production by the end of the century.
  • 8. Under these nightmare scenarios, according to Mr Henry, the hundreds of thousands of tourism-related jobs, and $37 billion in exports from tourism could collapse, not to mention the damage to agriculture.

The good news, he says, is that the situation can be redeemed with strong global action, and Australia can, and should, lead the way.

The Age (Australia), 2 Nov 2008

worse than we thought – global water cycle!

It is difficult, though not impossible, to say how individual events are influenced by climate change. It is simpler to tell whether the overall numbers are increasing.

Even at the time of the last IPCC report in 2007, the trends for extreme heat, droughts and intense rainfall were already clearly upward. Not only are these trends continuing, but the weather is also becoming even more extreme than was predicted.

For instance, a study this year of ocean-salinity data from between 1950 and 2000 by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found that the global water cycle – the rate at which water evaporates and falls as rain – has increased at double the pace projected by models that aim to simulate the global climate.

New Scientist, 14 Nov 2012

latest tongue twister: – no quick fix for fish

Rising carbon dioxide levels in oceans adversely change the behavior of fish through generations, raising the possibility that marine species may never fully adapt to their changed environment, research has found.

The research was conducted by the ARC center of excellence for coral reef studies, based at James Cook University in Queensland. Professor Philip Munday, a co-author of the study, told Guardian Australia the research suggested fish would not be able to adapt to climate change in the short term.

“How quickly that adaptation will take, we don’t quite know,” he said. “But we do know that projected future CO2 levels will seriously affect the behavior of fish in ways that won’t be good for populations. It will take longer than a few generations for fish to genetically adapt and we don’t know if they can keep pace with the change.”

“If they can’t keep pace, it will have a significant effect on the population sustainability in some species of fish. We worked on reef fish, but there’s nothing to say that whole ranges of other species won’t be affected.”

“This is certainly a warning that there is no quick fix for fish. We need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and we need to do more to understand whether genetic adaptation can kick in over time.”

Heat Is Online, 11 Oct 2014 – The Guardian (U.K.)

worse than we thought – temperature increase!

World will warm faster than predicted in next five years, study warns. The world faces record-breaking temperatures as the sun’s activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted for the next five years, according to a study.

The research, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, was carried out by Judith Lean, of the US Naval Research Laboratory, and David Rind, of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The Guardian, 28 Jul 2009

green or white?

Environmentalists, urban planners and politicians all agree the city’s roofs need to change so that less heat is absorbed and less electricity used for cooling offices and apartments within. But unanimity on the best way of doing this is more elusive, with green roofs and white roofs being spruiked from different corners.

In September, Victorian Environment Minister Gavin Jennings declared himself “a fan” of green roofs – a concept well advanced in American cities such as Chicago and Portland – where beds of vegetation adorn building tops.

Citing overseas research, Jennings said a green roof was capable of reducing local temperatures by about four degrees. The State Government has helped fund a study into adapting green roof technology to local conditions, while the Wonthaggi desalination plant will boast one of the biggest green roofs in Australia.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, meanwhile, declared himself a fan of white roofs this month; another method for tackling the heat island effect by spraying rooftops with a white, rubbery layer that reflects the sun’s rays. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is another fan of the concept.

Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Jan 2010

mind your step!

An invasion of jellyfish plaguing holiday-makers in the Mediterranean has been put down to global warming, with the hot dry weather bringing the creatures closer to the shore.

But this summer’s dry, hot weather experienced throughout Europe increased the salinity of coastal waters as well as its temperature, scientists from the marine conservation NGO Oceana said.

With low-flowing rivers bringing in less freshwater, the natural barrier that keeps jellyfish at bay broke down, they said.

edie.net, 11 Aug 2006

another secret report!

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies.

The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

The Guardian, 22/2/04

the vanishing cow!

Is Global Warming Leading To Cow Infertility? Reproductive efficiency has suffered a dramatic decrease since the mid-1980s despite rapid worldwide progress in genetics and management of high producing dairy herds.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona propose that summer heat stress is likely to be a major factor related to low fertility in high producing dairy herds, especially in countries with warm weather. Scientific Blogging, 5 Sep 2007

worse than we thought – melting polar ice caps!

Climate scientists are saying that global warming, as evidenced by melting polar ice caps, is worse than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and that global emissions must peak by 2015 if climate chaos, and resulting human social chaos is to be avoided.

Green-labour alliances can inspire the broad-based community campaigns needed to make a just transition to renewable energy and new green jobs.

Geoff Evans is an environmental scientist and social ecologist, researching transitions to sustainability. He is a former Director of the Mineral Policy Institute, now working with Greenpeace on their Climate and Energy campaign.

A Just Transition to a clean, renewable energy economy is urgent – and possible, 1 Nov 2008

reservations about climate models!

Climate scientists have created an index of the year when the average climate of any given region on earth will likely push outside the extreme records experienced in the past 150 years should greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated.

Research leader Camilo Mora, from the University of Hawaii, said while scientists had repeatedly warned about climate change and its likely effects on biodiversity and people, their study showed change was already upon us.

“Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past,” said Dr Mora.

Australian climate scientist Sarah Perkins, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said the study’s results were in line with the latest global projections.But she expressed reservations about the study’s time frames, saying climate models were not designed to provide projections for such precise times and locations such as a year or a city.

The Age, 9 Oct 2013

standing room only!

Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government’s chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week.

He said the Earth was entering the “first hot period” for 60 million years, when there was no ice on the planet and “the rest of the globe could not sustain human life”.

The warning – one of the starkest delivered by a top scientist – comes as ministers decide next week whether to weaken measures to cut the pollution that causes climate change, even though Tony Blair last week described the situation as “very, very critical indeed.”

The Independent, 2 May 2004

gentoo leads chinstraps!

Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University studied breeding patterns of three species of Antarctic penguins: the Adélie, chinstrap, and gentoo.

While the Adélie and chinstrap migrate to the Western Antarctic Peninsula to breed every year, the gentoos are year-round residents. Because the Antarctic is one of the world’s most rapidly warming regions, Lynch hypothesized that these environmental changes would affect penguins’ reproduction.

She was right: Warmer temperatures have resulted in dwindling Adélie and chinstrap populations. The gentoos, however, are able to adapt to increased temperatures better since they live in the Peninsula year-round.

They’re doing it and doing it and doing it well — because they’ve been able to shift their breeding cycle earlier, their populations are actually growing.

Grist, 22 Mar 2012

no link too tenuous!

Well, new scientific research is mounting that could prove to be the tipping point. It just got way too personal.

Yes, early data suggests that global warming makes you fat. If anything could tip the scales, this could be it. Admittedly, the research is early and thin. But here’s how it goes.

Danish researchers were mapping the lifestyles of thousands of Danes in the MONICA studies related to cardiovascular health and obesity.

Lars-Georg Hersoug stumbled on a weird anomaly. Over a 22-year period, both thin and fat people put on weight, and the increase was proportionally the same. CO2 appears to make our blood more acidic, which influences our brain to want to eat more.

Hersoug surmised that excess CO2 in the atmosphere might be affecting hormones in the brain known as orexin neurons. Orexins stimulate eating, wakefulness and energy expenditure.

Huffington Post, 20 Nov 2014

if only they’d known about climate change in 1787!

Who (you might ask) is David Brearley?

Brearley plays a critical, and entirely accidental, role in climate change because of his position as the chair of the Committee on Postponed Parts within the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

The committee opted for a middle ground solution – an electoral college that would vote on behalf of the citizens, but which would be populated based on the number of congressional seats assigned to each State in the Union.

It is this solution, brilliant at the time, that leads us to Brearley’s legacy on climate change. Because over the course of the last 200 plus years, the electoral college, which provides for stronger voting power per person in more rural and less populated states, has elected four U.S. presidents who clearly lost the popular vote (1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016).

Two of those elections have occurred during the period in which we have known about the causes and impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change and in both cases, the impacts of those elections have very likely had profound impacts on our actions to address the challenge.

Washington Post, 19 Dec 2016

thanks to ddh

Flagship calls for planned retreat

The top government scientist leading Australia’s efforts to adapt to climate change has warned that some coastal communities will have to be abandoned in a “planned retreat” because of global warming.

Dr Andrew Ash, who directs the CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship program, said while some vulnerable coastal communities coud be protected by sea walls and levees, “there are going to be areas where that is not physically possible or it’s not cost effective to introduce any engineering solution and planned retreat becomes the only option.”

The Age (Australia), 23 Mar 2009 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – global warming effects!

One of those trying to give the polar bears a break and settle the argument is James McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography and an internationally known authority on climate change.

McCarthy was among a handful of top scientists who coordinated a remarkable report by the world scientific community this year that said global warming is real, it’s here, and it’s going to be worse than we thought.

“We already see effects that [indicate] the change in climate has occurred, And the projection of some of those [effects] into the future are not a pretty scene.”

Harvard University Gazette, 22 Mar 2001

fuzzy maths

The thawing of permafrost in one region of the Arctic will cause damage worth $65 trillion, or 80 per cent of the entire global economy last year, new research suggests.

According to a UN report released last year, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost, large-scale and irreversible thawing is already under way.

Under business-as-usual scenarios, in which nations continue to emit greenhouse gases at present rates, the total damage bill would be the equivalent of about $65 trillion, the paper said. This is about 80 per cent of the entire 2012 global economy.

If the world switched to a low-emissions path, the cost would be delayed somewhat and would end up being about $40 trillion.

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Jul 2013

the incredible shrinking winter!

Peter Atkinson, professor of geography at the University of Southampton, examined satellite images of vegetation across the northern hemisphere from the past 25 years and found signs winter was being shrunk.

Earlier this month, supermarkets Waitrose and Tesco both announced that English strawberries were ripening early and hitting the shelves a week earlier than last year.

“There is much speculation about whether our seasons are changing and if so, whether this is linked to climate change. Our study is another significant piece of the puzzle, which may ultimately answer this question,” Prof Atkinson said.

Illawarra Mercury 29 Mar 2014 – screencopy held by this website

we’re the problem!

People are doing this. Let’s be clear about it. It’s not some natural phenomenon, like an earthquake or a volcanic eruption. It’s the actions of Homo sapiens.

What we are witnessing is a fundamental clash between the species, and the planet on which he lives, which is going to worsen steadily, and the more closely you observe it – or at least, the more closely I have observed it, over the past 15 years – the more I have thought that there is something fundamentally wrong with Homo sapiens himself.

Man seems to be Earth’s problem child.

Michel Mccarthy resigning as environmental editor of The Independent 29 Mar 2013

worse than we thought – greenhouse gas emissions!

It seems the dire warnings about the oncoming devastation wrought by global warming were not dire enough, a top climate scientist said on Saturday.

It has been just over a year since the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark report warning of rising sea levels, expanding deserts, more intense storms and the extinction of up to 30 per cent of plant and animal species.

But recent climate studies suggest that report significantly underestimates the potential severity of global warming over the next 100 years, a senior member of the panel said.

“We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected,” said Chris Field, who was a co-ordinating lead author of the report.

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Feb 2009

not bad, but worse!

There is a lot wrong with our world. But it is not as bad as many people think. It is worse.

Global warming is slowly but relentlessly changing the face of the planet. We are only in the early stages of this process, but already carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 375 parts per million, the highest level for at least half a million years.

Temperatures are projected to rise by up to 5.8 C this century, 10 times the increase of 0.6 C in the last century, and by 40% more than this in some northern land surface areas.

This means temperatures could rise by up to 8.1 C in some parts of the world.

The Guardian, 14 Feb 2003

worse than we thought – warming in the Arctic!

A new study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), released today, says that the effects of warming in the Arctic are “dire… far worse than previous projections.”

Dr Martin Sommerkorn, senior climate change advisor for WWF’s Arctic program (who works on this stuff everyday) says: “What they found was a truly sobering picture.” The report released by WWF today, Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications, is an “unprecedented peer-reviewed report.”

James Leape, director general of WWF International, says: “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.”

Simply Green, undated article

but who wants a padded cell in their own home?

Dr John Pockett from the Barbara Hardy Institute suggests that you take time to adapt your house to climate change.

For home builders, have a refuge at the centre of the house, that has thicker walls, so heat will take longer to get through. The other major thing (that all home owners can do) is to have a lighter coloured roof, known as a cool roof.

Make it as light coloured as your council area will allow. A cool roof reflects sunlight (including ultraviolet and infrared rays) ensuring the surface will not get as hot during the summer, leading to less heat entering living spaces.

University of South Australia, 13 Jan 2015

scientific analysis

In the mid-1980s, more than 4,000 moose roamed the forests and bogs of northwestern Minnesota. Today, there are probably fewer than 100.

Mike Schrage, a wildlife biologist with the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, says researchers believe a warming climate might be causing moose to get sick.

“I do think global warming is having an impact on our moose,” said Schrage.

“I think it gets complicated between climate change and a dead moose. Because I don’t think I’m ever going to walk up to a moose carcass and be able to say, oh, it died of climate change. I think there’s a lot that happens in between.”

MPR News, 25 Mar 2008

if they can do it, why can’t we?


So why don’t we see advanced civilizations swarming across the Universe? One problem may be climate change. It is not that advanced civilizations always destroy themselves by over-heating their biospheres (although that is a possibility).

Instead, because stars become brighter as they age, most planets with an initially life-friendly climate will become uninhabitably hot long before intelligent life emerges. Other inhabited planets in the Universe must also have found ways to prevent global warming.

Watery worlds suitable for life will have climates that, like the Earth, are highly sensitive to changing circumstances.

The repeated canceling of star-induced warming by “geobiological” cooling, required to keep such planets habitable, will have needed many coincidences, and the vast majority of such planets will have run out of luck long before sentient beings evolved. However, the Universe is immense, and a few rare worlds will have had the necessary good fortune.

It may just be that Earth is one of those lucky planets—a precious, fragile jewel in space. So, perhaps inevitably, climate change will remain a bane of the continued existence of life on such planets. ars technica, 10 Jun 2014

time to turn over a new…

This month scientists will publish research that links a decline in the nutritional quality of leaves eaten by colobus monkeys in Uganda to changes in climate over the past 30 years.

“We know if we go out and measure leaves and find patches that have a lot of protein to fibre, that’s good territory for monkeys,” said Professor Raubenheimer, from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

“There are a number of experiments on plants showing that an increase in temperature and moisture has an impact on the fibre concentration. Females deprived of a balanced diet are less fertile and give birth to smaller young. The population birth rate is slowed, so you get a decline in population,” he said.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Sep 2014