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

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

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

vanishing kelp

They are the mighty rainforests of the ocean, towering up to 25 metres from the seabed.

Like many forests on land, the giant kelp jungles in the waters off south-east Australia are gravely threatened by climate change, scientists say.

Karen Gowlett-Holmes, a marine biologist with the CSIRO and co-owner of Eaglehawk Dive Centre on the east coast of Tasmania, said the destruction of the kelp forests was having ”a huge impact” on marine ecology.

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Aug 2012

going south for the winter

Tropical fish lured south by currents.

The leader of the CSIRO’s Marine Climate Impacts and Adaptation Stream, Alistair Hobday, used modelling to indicate the likely future occurrences of 14 fish species throughout each month of the year.

In 95 per cent of the 25 scenarios, most species moved south, pointing to a pole-ward shift. Predictions are for more pelagic fish in southerly latitudes.

The evidence is backed by sightings of blue and striped marlin off Tasmania and Gippsland, and marlin, cobia, wahoo and Spanish mackerel in southern NSW.

Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Aug 2012

the last of the cows

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

the idea that launched a thousand ships!

Another way to reflect more sunlight back into space is to increase reflectivity of the world’s marine clouds, which cover a quarter of the ocean’s surface.

John Latham and Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh have proposed wind-powered yachts that would spray seawater droplets into the air to produce more clouds.

Latham says that about a thousand of these vessels would be needed to make the plan effective, and that they should be deployed in the southern oceans, where most reflective marine stratocumulus clouds are.

But more testing is necessary to better understand the ecological and meteorological consequences. Open Knowledge, 10 Jul 2011

the appliances are taking over!

Your refrigerator could soon be helping to cool the planet as well as your food. A bar fridge built by the CSIRO has the ability to communicate with other refrigerators.

The applicances do not gossip about what kind of milk you have bought, but exchange data that could help balance energy usage acros the day and, ultimately, reduce the need for power stations, said a CSIRO research scientist, Geoff James.

Dr James said the same energy-levelling strategy could be applied to other home appliances that involve some discretion about when power is and is not used, such as water heaters and air-conditioners, the other big domestic power hogs.

Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2008 – screen copy held by this website

the hanging gardens of Richmond

Christine Berry and Mike Morris were building a beautiful home in Richmond with a focus of getting as much sunlight into the house as possible. Just one problem.

“The site was blighted by a three-storey block of flats,” says Ms Berry.

How she and her architect husband solved the problem gives a visionary clue as to how the city of Melbourne will cope with climate change, the death of its trees and higher-density living.

They turned the rear wall of their courtyard into an eight-metre garden of native grasses and ferns. Sydney Morning Herald 30 Aug 2009 – image held by website

ready, aim …

Atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen would like to save the world and darken your day. He proposes in this month’s journal Climatic Change that to screen ourselves from global warming, humans could use heavy artillery to lob huge explosive shells laden with sulphate particles high into the stratosphere.

A potent mix of pollutants would scatter the incoming sublight and bounce more sunbeams back into space. Bingo, you’d lower the rate of global warming and give the fossil-fuel industries more reason to push hydrocarbons. Sun Herald (Australia) 6 Aug 2006 – screencopy held by this website

rewriting history

Contrary to common beliefs, societal collapses of the past have been caused by sudden climate change, not only by social, political and economic factors, Yale anthropologist Harvey Weiss reports in a new study published in this week’s Science.

We also know where the population growth will be greatest, Weiss adds. “We must use this information to design strategies that minimize the impact of climate change on societies that are at greater risk. This will require substantial international cooperation, without which the 21st century will likely witness unprecedented social disruptions.”

Sci Gogo 27 Jan 2001

more stones

As daily temperatures increase, so does the number of patients seeking treatment for kidney stones.

In a study that may both reflect and foretell a warming planet’s impact on human health, a research team found a link between hot days and kidney stones in 60,000 patients in several U.S. cities with varying climates.

“We found that as daily temperatures rise, there is a rapid increase in the probability of patients presenting over the next 20 days with kidney stones,” said study leader Gregory E. Tasian, MD, MSc, MSCE.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 10 Jul 2014

birds punched in gut

Half of all bird species in North America — including the bald eagle — are at risk of severe population decline by 2080 if the swift pace of global warming continues, the National Audubon Society concluded in a study released Monday.

“The scale of the disruption we’re projecting is a real punch in the gut,” said Gary Langham, chief Audubon scientist.

Seattle Times, 8 Sep 2014

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

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

bean me up, Scotty

Rich western urbanites expecting to dodge the impacts of climate change should prepare for a jolt: global warming is leading to bad, expensive coffee.

Almost 2bn cups of coffee perk up its drinkers every day, but a perfect storm of rising heat, extreme weather and ferocious pests mean the highland bean is running out of cool mountainsides on which it flourishes.

Mauricio Galindo, head of operations at the intergovernmental International Coffee Organisation, is equally worried: “Climate change is the biggest threat to the industry. If we don’t prepare ourselves we are heading for a big disaster.”
The Guardian, 29 Mar 2014

thanks to Peter

pick a number between 1 and …

A secret draft version of the next report by the United Nation’s influential panel of climate experts, to be given to governments in April, will say a reliable upper limit can no longer be put on how quickly the world will warm.

Professor Ian Lowe, an environmental scientist and president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said he hoped the report would convince the Australian Government of the seriousness of the issue because it was still listening to the “10 or 12 sceptics of the world.”

In the worst case scenario, the world could warm up to 11 degrees in response to a doubling of carbon dioxide, a 2005 study that harnessed the power of 90,000 computers worldwide found. This is much greater than previous predictions of between 1.5 to 4.5 degrees.

Sydney Morning Herald 1 Mar 2006 – screen copy held by this website

bumblebees on the wane

Global warming and evolution are reshaping the bodies of some American bumblebees, a new study finds.

The tongues of two Rocky Mountains species of bumblebees are about one-quarter shorter than they were 40 years ago, evolving that way because climate change altered the buffet of wildflowers they normally feed from, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

Study co-author Candace Galen at the University of Missouri worries that without long-tongued bees, some flowers will falter.

Also, she said shorter tongue bees often “cheat” and bite a hole in the flower’s side, which doesn’t help the plant spread its seeds.

Fox News Science, 25 Sep 2015

big picture, small picture

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Environmental Protection Administrator Gina McCarthy said climate change, if unconfronted, will bring about droughts, food shortages, economic disruption and other consequences.

She also warned that the changing climate could make the morning caffeine rush a thing of the past.

“Climate change puts the world’s coffee-growing regions at risk,” Ms. McCarthy said, adding that governments must consider climate change when making virtually every policy position, even those that on the surface seem to have nothing to do with the environment.

Washington Times, 11 Mar 2015

escaping climate change — at a price

The residence at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island will be available later this year cost at least $50,000 per night. The rate is based on how guests customize the undersea experience, according to hotel representatives.

The two-level suite is named The Muraka, which means “coral” in Dhivehi, the local language of the Maldives.

The undersea bedroom floor sits 16.4 feet below sea level and includes a king-size bedroom, living room, bathroom and a spiral staircase that leads to the upper-level living room.

abcnews, 3 May 2018

thanks to David Mulberry

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

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

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

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

we’re having a ….

Victoria could soon be hit by heatwaves in three out of every four years, as Australia becomes hotter, drier and increasingly drought ravaged.

Drought will occur twice as often and be twice as severe within 20 to 30 years, a joint report by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO examining the extent of drought in Australia has warned.

While this is a scientific report, parts of these high-level projections read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report, Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said yesterday.

The Age, 7 Jul 2008

not to be sneezed at

Australia’s hay fever sufferers can expect their torment to last longer and become more intense with climate change, according to researchers at home and abroad.

Global warming is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of tropical and subtropical grasses as they will be able to grow further south, Dr Rimmer wrote.

Additional effects of global warming may include earlier seasons, higher pollen loads and possibly more allergenic pollen.

Janet Rimmer is a respiratory physician and allergist at St Vincent’s Clinic in Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Oct 2014

early grapes

Researchers in Australia say they have pinpointed key factors in the early ripening of grapes, providing potential answers for wine growers threatened by global warming.

A team led by Leanne Webb at the CSIRO looked at 10 sites in southern Australia where there were highly-detailed records, stretching from 1985 to 2009, for all of these factors.

The most common driver of earlier ripening was higher temperature, deemed a significant factor at seven sites.

Executive style, 28 Feb 2012

tree hugging explained

Parker, a forest ecologist at the Smithsonian Institution, has spent the past 22 years on a research project so repetitive, so time-consuming, that it impresses even researchers with the patience to count tree rings.

Since 1987, he and a group of volunteers have embraced thousands of trees, slipped a tape measure behind them, and wrapped it around to measure the trees’ girth.

“My wife said I had to get out of the house and start dealing with live people,” said Dale Morrow, 72, a former elementary-school teacher who had gotten deep into genealogy (“dead people,” his wife said) in retirement.

He volunteered at the Smithsonian, and people there sent him to Parker. “My wife’s first comment was, ‘I didn’t want you interacting with trees; I wanted you interacting with people.’ ” Morrow told her: ” ‘Trees are people, too.’ ”

Washington Post, 20 Feb 2010

a stunned mullet

Climate change is damaging fish brains and causing them to lose their survival instinct, researchers warn.

Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is absorbed into ocean waters, where it dissolves and lowers the pH of the water. Fishes sensory systems were impaired by the change, causing neurons in the brain to misfire and they were unble to distinguish predators.

‘These results verify our laboratory findings,’ said Danielle Dixson, an assistant professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
Daily Mail, 16 Apr 2014

good news for penguins!

Warmer waters plus a feast of fast, fishy food equals frisky little penguins, according to experts at Phillip Island, who are reporting an early start to the breeding season.

Penguin ecologist Peter Dann said although the breeding season typically started in spring and early summer, about 10 per cent of the island’s burrows – home to the 26,000-strong penguin colony – already had eggs in them.

‘If global warming is going to warm up Bass Strait, then in a short to medium term, that’s going to be good news for penguins,’ he said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Aug 2009