Great flying boulders!

flying_boulderAnother danger of climate change: Giant flying boulders?

The idea is that Earth’s climate went through a warming period just over 100,000 years ago that was similar in many ways to the warming now attributed to the actions of man.

And the changes during that period were so catastrophic, they spawned massively powerful superstorms, causing violent ocean waves that simply lifted the boulders from below and deposited them atop this cliff.

If this is true, the effort kicking off in Paris this week to hold the world’s nations to strict climate targets may be even more urgent than most people realize.
Washington Post, 28 Nov 2015, article on James Hansen’s theory about giant flying boulders

thanks to ddh

the evils of concrete!

re_cementConcreting over front gardens boosts crime, fills up A&E and adds to global warming.

Sealing up the earth, they say, makes more rain water run off into the gutters, bringing an increased risk of flooding. That’s just for a start. Less rainwater percolating through the soil prevents the washing away of pollutants. The soil dries out and causes subsidence.

(note: A&E = Accident and Emergency area of a local hospital)

Telegraph, 24 Jul 2004

sour grapes

Areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced by 50 percent — and possibly as much as 81 percent — by the end of this century, according to a study Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The main problem: an increase in the frequency of extremely hot days, according to Noah Diffenbaugh of the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University.

CBS News, 10/7/06

disappearing pumpkins

This Thanksgiving, climate change may hit a little closer to home.

Libby’s Pumpkin, which supplies more than 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkin, says an unusually rainy spring and summer will slash annual pumpkin yields by half this year.

This past June, Illinois got more than 9 inches of rain, more than 5 inches above average, according to Jim Angel, Illinois’s state climatologist.

Between May and July – critical growing months for processing pumpkins like those used in Libby’s cans – almost 2 feet of rain fell in Illinois, more than 10 inches above average.

Christian Science Monitor, 8 Oct 2015

fir trees make hay

Suspended 20 stories in the air, Ken Bible looks down on the crown of a 500-year-old Douglas fir and ponders a mystery.

The vantage point allows the University of Washington forest ecologist to study the upper reaches of this old-growth forest, where a reproductive orgy is under way.

“We’ve never seen anything like this here,” he says, reaching over the edge of the open-air gondola to grasp a limb laden with cones. He counts at least 30.

“Normally, a branch like this would have about three,” he says. “Why so many this year? We really don’t know.”

The work is part of a bigger effort to figure out what climate change, both natural and man-made, will mean for the Northwest’s iconic forests.

Seattle Times, 27 Nov 2007

nail everything down!

floatingThe news: If you’re still having trouble believing climate change is a real thing, here is another item on the list of things affected by global warming: gravity.

According to the latest report by the European Space Agency, detailed satellite imaging has shown that “the loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region.”
World.Mic, 30 Sep 2014

certain … not so certain

question_marksBecause in just 100 months’ time, if we are lucky, and based on a quite conservative estimate, we could reach a tipping point for the beginnings of runaway climate change.

That said, among people working on global warming, there are countless models, scenarios, and different iterations of all those models and scenarios, said Andrew Simms, policy director and head of the climate change programme at the New Economics Foundation.
The Guardian, 1 Aug 2008

all bases covered!

The UK’s weather will become both too wet and too dry – and also too cold and too hot – as climate change increases the frequency of extreme events, the Met Office has warned in a new report.

Its scientists concluded that on average the UK will see wetter, milder winters and hotter, drier summers in the long term due to global warming.

But the natural year-to-year variability of weather will also mean occasional very cold winters, like that of 2010-11, and very wet summers, like that of 2012.
The Guardian, 26 Mar 2014

forever in …

Almost everyone owns a pair of blue jeans.

But water shortages and drought are having an impact on cotton production, causing price fluctuations and even a shortage in denim.

According to a recent New York Times report, a pair of jeans uses 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, enough to fill 15 spa-size bathtubs.

“That includes the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home,” reports the Times.

Worried that water shortages could threaten the very existence of the jeans industry, Levi Strauss developed a nonprofit to teach farmers how to harvest rainwater for irrigation, introduced a brand that uses zero water during the stone-washing process, and is urging people to wash their jeans less.

For more earth-friendly jeans, choose organic brands—organic farming methods protect the soil, and healthy soil holds more water reserves to help in times of drought. Better yet, shop for used jeans.

Prevention, 12 Apr 2013

the end is high!

The Forcey family, of Sandringham, are keen bushwalkers, skiers and cyclists.

But lately they have made sacrifices for a new outdoor ritual — walking along Melbourne beaches waving an 11-metre pole that bears a dire warning.

They call it the global warming pole.

And it symbolises the concerns of Tim and Coni Forcey and their 16-year-old twins, Renee and Eric, about the planet’s future.

The pole’s red markers illustrate how far sea levels could rise if ice in Greenland and Antarctica continues to melt at the rate forecast by climate. The point of it is to catch people’s attention.

“For the most part, they are really interested and want to talk about global warming,” Mr Forcey said.

The Age, 28 Oct 2006

butterflies down for the count!

butterflyMore than three-quarters of Britain’s 59 butterfly species have declined over the last 40 years, with particularly dramatic declines for once common farmland species such as the Essex Skipper and small heath, according to the most authoritative annual survey of population trends.

“This is the final warning bell,” said Chris Packham, Butterfly Conservation vice-president, calling for urgent research to identify the causes for the disappearance of butterflies from ordinary farmland. “If butterflies are going down like this, what’s happening to our grasshoppers, our beetles, our solitary bees? If butterflies are in trouble, rest assured everything else is.”

Climate change and pesticides may be playing a more damaging role in their declines than previously thought.
The Guardian, 15 Dec 2015

thanks to John Blethen

a continuing role for a former IPCC official?

A collection of Australia’s best known faces from stage, screen and stadium have joined together to save some of the country’s greatest natural landmarks.

TV character Kim Craig, one half of television duo Kath & Kim, is championing the cause of the local backyard – at risk from rising temperatures, reduced rainfall and increased water restrictions.

“It makes me gropable to think that because of global warming, this back garden could soon be a dust bowl!” she said.
The Age, 2 Nov 2008

sea planes needed!

seaplaneCalifornia will face billions of dollars in spending to cope with the consequences of rising sea levels if low-lying communities along the coast are ultimately submerged, as scientists predict, Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday..

“If that happens, the Los Angeles airport’s going to be underwater,” Brown told reporters at a presentation of his revised state budget proposal in Los Angeles. “So is the San Francisco airport.” LA Times, 13 May 2014

crocodiles more choosy than previously thought!

Australia’s saltwater crocodiles appear to be in hot water, with a University of Queensland study linking climate warming to shorter dives, putting the crocs’ survival at risk.

Professor Craig Franklin of the UQ School of Biological Sciences said saltwater crocodiles exposed to long-term elevated water temperature spent less time submerged once water temperature exceeded 31.5 degrees Celsius.

Professor Franklin said further research on other crocodile performance traits that could influence the ability to survive future climate change was needed before scientists could fully understand the effects of elevated water temperatures.University of Queensland News, 16 Dec 2015

thanks to ddh

window closing

Sir Nicholas, a former World Bank chief economist, seeks to overturn conventional thinking by arguing that fighting climate change will save, not cost, money.

Whitehall sources told The Independent that the report was hard-headed.

“It didn’t deal in sandals and brown rice. It stuck to the economics.”

Insurance analysts said in evidence to Sir Nicholas that they feared insurance claims caused by storms, droughts and other natural disasters could exceed the world’s GDP.

Sir Nicholas believes a window of 10 to 15 years exists to save the global economy from severe damage – but after that it will be too late, Mr Swan said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Oct 2006

stirring the pot

Coffee is an early-morning staple. But it’s also threatened by all of the emissions we’re creating.

Coffee-selling giant Starbucks is doing its part to use less energy and water, including its announcement that all new retail stores will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

Cutting emissions and protecting resources will help protect the coffee plantations the company depends on, those threatened by the uncharacteristic extreme heat, drought, and increase pest populations brought on by climate change.

Prevention, 12 Apr 2013

fashion statement

Climate change, the term given to trends in statistical weather patterns, is often closely linked to anthropogenic global warming, and it’s likely a large reason that U.S. climates are getting warmer each year.

But those hotter temperatures are also eroding the seasonality of your wardrobe; in other words, we’re wearing more of the same clothes, year-round. Your favorite pair of J.Crew cropped pants?

As a result of 2011’s no-show winter, you could wear them in September and February.

Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2012, What Climate Change Just Might Ruin

But I thought the heat went…

“The apparent paradox relationship between rising temperatures in the atmosphere and declining sea surface temperatures can be explained easily,”said Dr Helen McGregor of the MARUM Research Centre Ocean Margins at the University of Bremen in Germany.

“Both the increasing wind and rotation of the Earth cause coastal surface waters to be transported to the open ocean. These water masses are then replaced by considerably cooler water being upwelled from deeper oceanic levels.The stronger the greenhouse effect the stronger the cold water pump works – and the cooler the coastal waters off Morocco.”
The Telegraph (UK), 5 Feb 2007

change you can believe in!

Siestas will become an increasingly common part of British life as summers get hotter and drier due to climate change, a leading authority on the health hazards of heat has predicted.

Prof Bill Keatinge, from University College London, yesterday predicted that Continental-style after-lunch naps would become increasingly common in Britain. “An increase of only 8C in body temperature will kill,” he said. “One simple countermeasure is to avoid exertion. You see this in southern Europe where people take siestas.”
The Telegraph (UK), 13 Aug 2005

scientific explanation

“Well, the wacky weather could get even wackier. What we’re seeing is that the jet stream and the polar vortex are becoming unstable. Instability of historic proportions. Now think of the polar vortex as a bucket, a swirling bucket of cold air. However, the walls are weakening.”

“Cold air is spilling out, spilling out over the walls of the bucket. And the question is, why? Why is this polar vortex weakening? We think it’s because of the gradual heating up of the North Pole. The North Pole is melting.”
New York City College physics professor Michio Kaku, interview on CBS, This Morning, 13 Feb 2014