caterpillers on the march!

Caterpillars Devour 45 Towns in Liberia: Climate Change Possibly to Blame. In the aftermath of another extended rainy season, Liberia has experienced its worst caterpillar plague in three decades.

Tens of millions of the black-haired creatures have swarmed farms, devastated crops and contaminated several major waterways.

Care2 28 Jan 2009

watch your step

The strange holes in the earth found in the northern tundra on Russian territory in July could mean the beginning of irreversible changes in the climate of our planet.

According to Russian scientists, the most likely reason for the formation of such holes is the emission of natural gas, which may be caused by global warming.

According to geologist Konstantin Ranks, the emission of natural gas that scholars consider the most likely explanation for the formation of the holes may be a consequence of global warming.

Russia Beyond the Headlines, 25 Jul 2014

turtles speed up!

Caretta carettas usually come on land around July every year, but this year began to arrive in June.

Head of the Alanya Agricultural Directorate Umut Olgun said that the turtles have started arriving earlier on the shores of Alanya this year.

Remarking that caretta carettas typically arrive on Alanya shores to lay their eggs between July and September every year, Olgun pointed out that their early arrival this year could have been caused by global climate change.

Today’s Zaman, 11 Jun 2007

here today …

Climate change blamed for missing lake. Center glaciologist Andres Rivera said that during the last two months, the changing climate played a significant role in the destruction of a five-acre glacial lake in Chile’s Magallanes region, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Rivera, who visited the lake’s former location Monday, said rising temperatures likely caused area glaciers to melt, and they in turn added pressure to a natural dam next to the lake.

This confirms that glaciers in the region are retreating and getting thinner, he told the BBC. “This would not be happening if the temperature had not increased.”

Phys org 5 Jul 2007

getting physical

Climate change will probably trigger more human conflict, according to an article in the journal Science.

An examination of 60 separate studies, including one stretching back to 10,000 B.C., found that individuals, groups and nations are “substantially” more likely to become involved in physical conflict in hot weather and heavy rain.

Climate change is expected to drive up temperatures in many regions, which will “systematically increase the risk of many types of conflict” ranging from barroom brawls and rape to civil wars and international disputes, according to the article.

“The strongest evidence is that high temperatures really matter,” said Solomon Hsiang, one of the study’s authors. “A few degrees warmer is always worse.”

Bloomberg Business, 2 Aug 2013

climate change raises the heat

A new report blames global warming for rising rates of infidelity, especially bad news for couples in Miami, where rising tides and raging hurricanes remind us all how much extracurricular sex we could be having on a daily basis.

Victoria Milan, a dating website for people looking to cheat on their significant other, surveyed 5,000 of its members, both men and women.

A shocking 72 percent of them responded that yes, their own Al Gore-esque stress about unpredictable weather is the cause of their extramarital dalliances.

Guess the fact of their existing committed relationships was just an inconvenient truth.

Miami New Times, 28 May 2014

wolves to the rescue

Balanced at the apex of an arch, the keystone locks all the other stones in place. Remove it and the arch collapses.

Keystone predators, such as wolves, are structurally similar, holding ecosystems together from the top down in food web relationships called trophic cascades.

Keystone predators control elk numbers and behavior. On the lookout for wolves, wary elk eat more sparingly. This releases shrubs and saplings from browsing pressure, improves habitat for other species, and increases biodiversity.

These cascading effects, termed the ecology of fear, are based on powerful evolutionary relationships that were in place until we eliminated large predators in the early part of the twentieth century.

While wolves won’t slow climate change, they certainly can help create ecosystems better able to withstand it. However, trophic cascades have yet to make it into the lexicon of climate change solutions.

Could this be because combating climate change with wolves is too implausible or costly?

Island Press 10 Sep 2010

not until … fly

“Global warming has certainly been observed very robustly, and we understand the processes by which humans are causing it quite well,” explains Noah Diffenbaugh, a Woods Institute for the Environment fellow and assistant professor of earth science at Stanford University.

Part of Diffenbaugh’s research includes studying how climate change affects pest patterns.

Corn—one of the main commodity crops used to feed pigs bound for the supermarket—is threatened by not only climate-related drought and flooding, but also by the corn earworm, and damage from the pest is projected to worsen in the coming decades, thanks to warmer winters.

In fact, we’re already seeing the scenario unfold: Bacon prices surged over the summer, thanks to climate-related troubles in cornfields.

Prevention, 12 Apr 2013

it’s a bird eat bird world

Jim Hayward, a seabird biologist based on Protection Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is making his evening rounds through the largest gull nesting colony in the Puget Sound region.

He’s been monitoring this site since 1987, so he’s used to the shrieking, the divebombing, the frequent splatterings of gull poop, and the pecking at his head, hands and feet.

What he’s not accustomed to is the cannibalism. Over the last decade, the gulls have shown a growing taste for their neighbors’ eggs and chicks. The trend appears linked to climate change.

“It doesn’t seem like a lot, but a one-tenth of a degree change in seawater temperature correlates to a 10 percent increase in (the odds of) cannibalism,” said Hayward, a professor at Andrews University in Michigan.

KitsapSun, 23 Jul 2016

life is like a box of ……

Brace yourselves, chocolate lovers: The anticipated one-degree rise in world temperature by 2030 will devastate Western Africa’s small cocoa farms, according to Colombian researchers.

If the world temperature increases two degrees by 2050, it will be virtually impossible to grow cocoa plants at the elevations where current farms are located.

If there’s ever a reason to switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs and drive less, this is it!

Prevention, 12 Apr 2013

I’m sane, it’s everyone else who’s crazy

To test the relationship between ambient temperature and personality, we conducted two large-scale studies in two geographically large yet culturally distinct countries: China and the United States.

Using data from 59 Chinese cities (N = 5,587), multilevel analyses and machine learning analyses revealed that compared with individuals who grew up in regions with less clement temperatures, individuals who grew up in regions with more clement temperatures (that is, closer to 22 °C) scored higher on personality factors related to socialization and stability (agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability) and personal growth and plasticity (extraversion and openness to experience)……

As climate change continues across the world, we may also observe concomitant changes in human personality.

Wenqi Wei, Jackson G. Lu, […]Lei Wang Nature Human Behaviour 1, 890–895 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0240-0, 27/11/17

thanks to David Hanig

cooling off period

A new study by three economists has found hotter temperatures lead to less sex. Stop climate change; get laid more.

Although it’s not quite as simple as that, as the economists explain in their paper “Maybe next month? Temperature shocks, climate change and dynamic adjustments in birth rates” published this week by the prestigious National Bureau of Economic Research in the US.

Indeed, for any given month, additional days above 27 degrees were found to cause a large decline in birth rates about eight to 10 months later. While there was a rebound in subsequent months, this did not make up entirely for the decline.

The lack of a full rebound suggests that increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century.

Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Nov 2015

one man’s meat is ….

The IPCC findings come hot on the heels of another study, “The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets”, published in the April edition of Climate Change.

The study’s lead author argues that targeting the fossil fuel industry alone is insufficient because “the agricultural emissions … may be too high. Thus we have to take action in both sectors.”

In 2010 a UN report, “Priority, Products, and Materials” concluded that, “A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”

ABC News (Australia), 28 Apr 2014

bumpy ride!

Nope, not even air travel is safe from our wavering weather.

Running atmospheric computer models, British researchers found a connection between climate change and turbulence, and they predict that the average strength of turbulence will increase by 10 to 40% by 2050. The amount of airspace containing significant turbulence will most likely double, too.

“The main takeaway message for flyers is to expect less-comfortable flights in the coming decades, with the seatbelt sign switched on perhaps twice as often,” explains study coauthor and atmospheric scientist Paul Williams, PhD, a Royal Society research fellow at the University of Reading.

Bumpier rides could translate into more bumps and bruises. The Federal Aviation Administration lists airplane turbulence as the number one cause of in-flight injuries. Between injuries and airplane damage, turbulence currently costs the airlines of the world tens of millions of dollars.

“Aviation is partly responsible for changing the climate, but our findings show for the first time how climate change could affect aviation,” Williams and his team notes.

Prevention, 12 Apr 2013

wet blankets

Gavin Houghton and his wife were prepared to put their money where their convictions are when renovating their Edwardian home in North Carlton.

The couple employed an architect who specialises in sustainable design, knowing the resulting plan’s passive solar energy, water savings and environmentally conscious elements would increase their building costs by 20 per cent.

The innovative design involved demolishing the back of their home to put large water tanks under a concrete slab. The slab would also provide thermal mass that, in conjunction with a “thermal chimney”, would create passive heating and cooling for their home.

The couple planned to create a second level and install two banks of solar panels on the roof. As well as creating space for their young family, their aim was to “future-proof” the property by turning a two-star energy-rated house into a six-star.

“I think it’s our duty as a society to build something which is going to last 50 or 60 years in a sustainable manner and I think what we have done seems a little bit odd now but these will be mandatory requirements in five or six years’ time,” Mr Houghton says.

Unfortunately for the Houghtons, their neighbours did not share that view. Soon after the planning application was advertised in August 2008, a campaign to object to the development began, with neighbours doorknocking to collect signatures for a petition.

In all, 36 residents objected. Concerns included the visual impact of the solar panels and thermal chimney on the area’s heritage and fears about the impact of the underground water tanks on adjoining properties.

The Age, 20 Feb 2010