shrinking fish

As fish get smaller under man’s environmental impact they will become more prone to predators and a crucial food source will become more endangered than thought obvious, warn scientists.

Previous research has found some key fish species dwindle in size as larger specimens are trawled out and climate change affects the food chain.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Feb 2013

rise of the Grolars!

Polar and Grizzly bears would not normally share breeding habitats, but biologists from the American Museum of Natural History have recently reported Grizzlies moving into what was traditionally Polar bear territory, while an article in Nature has suggested that retracting Arctic sea ice may force Polar bears to migrate into Grizzly terrain.

Although Pizzly (or Grolar) bears – that is, Grizzly-Polar bear hybrids – have occasionally been bred in captivity, their existence in the wild was first proved in 2006 following DNA testing of a bear shot in the Canadian Arctic.

Geological Society of London blog, 5 Mar 2014

pot calling the kettle ….

Bill Moyers, the founding director of Public Affairs Television in Washington, retired three months ago, one of the United States’ most honoured journalists. Harvard Medical School that same month named him the recipient of its fourth annual Global Environmental Citizen Award.

“Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven. Ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.” Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Mar 2005

salps move in for the krill

Human activity is driving changes in the world’s oceans at a rate not seen for several million years, a series of reports has concluded.

Oscar Schofield, of Rutgers University in the US, said environmental change had been “profound” in the West Antarctic Peninsula and was altering the food chain on which whales in this polar region depend.

Blooms of phytoplankton, or microscopic plants, had decreased by 12 per cent in the past 30 years, and the size of the cells had also shrunk.

This had allowed jellyfish-like creatures called salps, which find it easier to feed on the small cells, to start to replace shrimp-like krill, on which whales depend for food. The Age (Australia), 18 Jun 2010

no flies on them!

The pesky little flies that hover around rotting fruit could act as a sensitive warning system for the effects of global warming.

Professor Ary Hoffmann, a member of the La Trobe and Monash University team that studied the vinegar flies, said the changes in the genetic composition of the fly populations because of hotter conditions was surprisingly rapid.

The researchers sampled flies from Tasmania to far north Queensland, visiting farms, fruit shops and some supermarkets. “We’d go in with a net and ask where they dumped their rotten fruit,” Professor Hoffmann said.

They then studied the genes, including one called Adh that is linked to metabolism.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30 Apr 2005

moving day

Arizona’s low taxes and living costs, friendly culture, arts scenes and easy access to outdoor activities make it an appealing state in which to settle.

And in decades ahead the state’s draw as a new home could be boosted as seas rise and oceans warm, forcing coastal residents to deal with fallout like strengthening storms, floods, mudslides and other disasters.

“We see natural disasters all over the world; but to be very close to one, and experience the utter helplessness, as well as the repeated evacuations, is very, very stressful,” says Jenni Aguilar, who moved her family to a four-bedroom house near Tucson from California on Memorial Day.

Climate Central, 7 Jun 2018

thanks to David Hanig

the clock is running!

A top climate scientist is warning that climate change will wipe out all of humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years.

In a recent speech at the University of Chicago, James Anderson — a professor of atmospheric chemistry at Harvard University — warned that climate change is drastically pushing Earth back to the Eocene Epoch from 33 million BCE, when there was no ice on either pole.

Recovery is all but impossible, he argued, without a World War II-style transformation of industry—an acceleration of the effort to halt carbon pollution and remove it from the atmosphere, and a new effort to reflect sunlight away from the earth’s poles.

This has do[sic] be done, Anderson added, within the next five years. “The chance that there will be any permanent ice left in the Arctic after 2022 is essentially zero,” Anderson said, “with 75 to 80 percent of permanent ice having melted already in the last 35 years.”

Gritpost, 19 Feb 2018

thanks to David Mulberry

amphibians jump the gun!

The timing of amphibian breeding is largely driven by environmental cues such as temperature and moisture (Carey and Alexander 2003); because of this, their breeding phenology may be directly affected by global warming.

In temperate regions may be even more susceptible to increases temperatures. Most temperate species spend a large portion of the year inactive, escaping either cold winters or hot summers. Subtle increases in temperature or moisture trigger them to emerge from their hibernacula.

Immediately upon emergence, they migrate to ponds or streams to breed. Thus, one hypothesized direct affect of global warming on amphibians is a trend towards early breeding as the average temperatures increase.

Amphibiaweb, 22 Feb 2006

save the whales!

whaleSouthern Ocean sperm whales have emerged as an unexpected ally in the fight against global warming, removing the equivalent carbon emissions from 40,cars each year thanks to their faeces, a study has found. The cetaceans have been previously fingered as climate culprits because they breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2) the most common grrenhouse gas. The study is lead authored by Trish Lavery of the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University at Adelaide.Daily Telegraph, 16 Jun 2010

happiness is a long hot bubble bath

bubble_bathThe latest geoengineering scheme involves turning the world’s oceans into a giant bubble bath, with hundreds of millions of tiny bubbles pumped into the seas. This would increase the water’s reflectivity and bring down ocean temperatures, according to Harvard University physicist Russell Seitz.

As the creative physicist said to the assembled crowd at an international meeting on geoengineering research: “Since water covers most of the earth, don’t dim the sun…. Brighten the water.” CBS News, 30 Mar 2010

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

Yes, but what does it sound like?

How our musos (musicians) are saving the planet.

“We recorded our first EP in an old converted Bedford fire engine truck run on vege oil. We drove down to the southern tip of Tassie and found a beautiful little bay surrounded by forest. During recording, the computers, mikes and amps were powered by solar panels and a wind generator on the roof of the truck. Those recordings went on to score us a record deal.”Sydney Morning Herald 30 Mar 2007 – screen copy held by this website

sacrilege!

kangarooSkippy could soon be on the menu for the climate change-conscious if they take note of a report showing a switch from beef to kangaroo could help cut greenhouse gases.

A report by the director of the sustainability centre at the University of NSW, Mark Diesendorf, says a 30 per cent reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is achievable but would need both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and a change of diet.

“Beef consumption is chosen in this measure because it is responsible for the biggest share of livestock-related methane emissions,” the report says. “This measure could be reduced by shifting to kangaroo meat and/or lower-meat diets.”
The Age (Australia), 11 Oct 2007

flesh eaters!

Scientists are working on an improved treatment for a debilitating flesh-eating disease which appears to be on the rise due to global warming.

Should global warming continue to ravage our planet at current rates, the numbers of people suffering Leishmaniasis, a flesh-eating and sometimes fatal disease will increase dramatically, experts warn.

Science Daily, 16 Aug 2007

see also – just plain scary

more infections!

Climate change is the latest threat to the world’s growing HIV epidemic, say Australian experts who warn of the “grim” outlook in the fight against the infectious disease.

A leading professor of health and human rights, Daniel Tarantola, has cautioned that global warming will indirectly make citizens of developing countries even more vulnerable to death and severe ill health from HIV/AIDS.

It was clear soon after the emergence of the HIV epidemic that discrimination, gender inequality and lack of access to essential services have made some populations more vulnerable than others, said Prof Tarantola, of the University of NSW.

Climate change will trigger a chain of events which is likely to increase the stress on society and result in higher vulnerability to diseases including HIV, said Prof Tarantola, who is due to address an HIV forum in Sydney.

The Age, 29 Apr 2008

see also – just plain scary

feathers ruffled

With daytime temperatures above freezing, the rains soaked young Adélie and gentoo penguins not yet equipped with water-repellent feathers.

At night, when the mercury dipped below freezing, the wet chicks froze. The experience, explorer Jon Bowermaster added, painted a clear and grim picture of the impact of global climate change. It’s not just melting ice, he said.

“It’s actually killing these cute little birds that are so popular in the movies.” he said

National Geographic, 2 Jul 2008

ClimateCam is watching you!

big_brother_eyeA huge electronic billboard in the city square telling residents exactly how much greenhouse gas they have produced in the past hour. Sounds a little futuristic? Not if you live in Newcastle.

ClimateCam, the world’s first greenhouse gas speedometer, displays electricity consumption information collected from the 15 substations that supply homes and businesses in the Newcastle local government area. The council now believes Newcastle has been established as an international testing ground for climate solutions.

“We realise that the climate change issue is just so big and we are so, in Australia, far behind the rest of the world that we need to move very, very quickly if we’re going to catch up and have access to the huge economic opportunity that we foresee is coming with the implementation of climate solutions,” city energy and resource manager of Newcastle City Council, Peter Dormand says.
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Oct 2007

saving the planet, one snip at a time!

scissorsSaving the planet one house at a time. Geoff Strong meets four families doing their bit.

While the world has argued in Bali about how to stem climate change, back home ordinary people are making adjustments to ordinary lives. Some have cut back on eletricity use with more efficient appliances and insulation.

But in response to questions from the Age about how householders are stemming water use and greenhouse gas production, one of the most forthright came from the mother of a family of six: “What we did to save the environment was – my husband had a vasectomy.”
The Age (Australia), 17 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

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

the incredible shrinking Christmas tree!

Mark Doggett, of Environment Victoria, says the key to a sustainable Christmas is to substitute “greener” alternatives into our celebrations.

And the best place to start might be with the greenest of all traditional symbols – the tree. The debate is about whether pine or plastic Christmas trees are better for the environment. According to Mr Doggett, the answer is neither.

“But there is no reason you can’t use a potted plant, which you can take outside after Christmas,” he says.

The Sunday age, 9 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

suicidal birds on the increase!

For years, airport officials have removed shrubs and trees that attract birds.

They have tried to scare them away with music, pyrotechnics and cannons. They have even raided birds’ nests and culled the adults with shotguns.

Still, birds, often geese, sometimes end up in plane engines, causing inconvenience, or worse.

“There is evidence both in North America and in Europe that birds are shifting their territories,” said Joel L. Cracraft, curator in charge of the department of ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History. “And that has been correlated with global warming.”

New York Times, 16 Jan 2009

more couch potatoes!

According to an August report by the nonprofit National Wildlife Federation, climate change is creating obstacles that can impede our time in the outdoors — namely, by increasing the number of pests.

Nature is critical to health, says Martha Berger, a children’s health officer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Climate change, she added, could “further alienate kids from nature.”

Huffington Post, 6 Sep 2014

more stings

Insect stings have been on the rise in Alaska, and experts think that global warming could be to blame.

Jeffrey Demain, director of the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Center of Alaska in Anchorage, “We think climate and temperature changes are creating a more favorable environment for their survivability.”

Demain and other experts believe this scenario could be part of a worldwide trend of stinging insects spreading northward in response to climate change.

National Geographic, 16 Jul 2008

pull up the moat!

castle

Climate change will lead to a “fortress world” in which the rich lock themselves away in gated communities and the poor must fend for themselves in shattered environments, unless governments act quickly to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to the vice-president of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).

Mohan Munasinghe was giving a lecture at Cambridge University in which he presented a dystopic possible future world in which social problems are made much worse by the environmental consequences of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The scenario, which he termed “barbarisation” was already beginning to happen, he said. “Fortress world is a situation where the rich live in enclaves, protected, and the poor live outside in unsustainable conditions.”

“If you see what is going on in some of the gated communities in some countries you do find that rich people live in those kind of protected environments. If you see the restrictions on international travel you see the beginnings of the fortress world syndrome even in entering and leaving countries,” he said.

The Guardian, 15/5/08

apocalyptic scenario

If the North Atlantic Ocean’s circulation system is shut down — an apocalyptic global-warming scenario — the impact on the world’s food supplies would be disastrous, a study said Thursday.

The shutdown would cause global stocks of plankton, a vital early link in the food chain, to decline by a fifth while plankton stocks in the North Atlantic itself would shrink by more than half, it said.

“A massive decline of plankton stocks could have catastrophic effects on fisheries and human food supply in the affected regions,” warned the research, authored by Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State University.

Agence France-Presse, March 31, 2005

a stitch in time

Failing to fight global warming now will cost trillions of dollars by the end of the century even without counting biodiversity loss or unpredictable events like the Gulf Stream shutting down, a study said today.

But acting now will avoid some of the massive damage and cost relatively little, said the study commissioned by Friends of the Earth from the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University in the United States.

By contrast, spending just 1.6 trillion pounds (NZ$4.5 trillion) a year now to limit temperature rises to two degrees could avoid annual economic damage of around 6.4 trillion pounds, the Tufts report said.

Environmental Economics, 18 Oct 2006

last year’s model already out of date

The science used by the International Committee on Climate Change as the basis of the framework agreement in Bali in 2007 to hold the global warming increase to two degrees is already out of date.

There is now clear evidence that at less than one degree of warming we are already on the precipice of catastrophic climate change that will affect the whole world – from the lower Murray to the Great Barrier Reef, and the Himalayas to Siberia and the Arctic.

The Age (Australia), 26 Feb 2009 – screen copy held by this website

bacon soars

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 2012 – 8 Weird ways climate change is ruining everything

return of jaws

“The one thing that’s affecting shark attacks more than anything else is human activity,” said Dr George Burgess of Florida University, a shark expert who maintains the database.

As the population continues to rise, so does the number of people in the water for recreation. Another contributory factor to the location of shark attacks could be global warming and rising sea temperatures.

“You’ll find that some species will begin to appear in places they didn’t in the past with some regularity,” he said.

The Guardian, 4 May 2008

bumpy ride

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.

Prevention, 12 Apr 2012 – 8 Weird ways climate change is ruining everything

pity the poor wood warbler!

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and other conservation bodies have regularly warned that climate shifts could have a devastating impact on some species.

Three years ago, Marcel Visser from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Heteren collated a number of cases. The North American wood warbler has not adapted its migration pattern to the earlier emergence of caterpillars in its breeding ground, and the Dutch honey buzzard is also failing to adapt to the earlier appearance of wasps, which it eats. BBC News, 8 May 2008