After a delay of about two months, I am happy to be once again bringing you this collection of news related to our changing world. I know that a lot of people tend to dismiss the whole notion of Climate Change as so much poppycock dreamed up by evil, liberal communists to scare the ignorant masses (of which you and I would be members, I suppose).
This “Global Warming is a myth” line of thinking has been created and promoted by the same people who (a) chose to ignore the evidence of terrorists in America, then (b) assured us that Iraq was just chock full ‘o weapons of mass destruction, and (c) assured the citizens of New Orleans that their dikes would hold since stronger hurricanes caused by Global Warming were a myth.
Photo from ENS Newswire
The stories below are, quite honestly, frightening. They aren’t sensationalized pieces from the Weekly World News either,they are from respected, mainstream news sources like Reuters and the BBC. I urge you all to take the time to at least read over my story, and the blurbs from other news sources below. There are some basic facts here which we should all be aware of, that relate very much to how our future as individuals and the future of our children will play out.
The changes we are seeing aren’t so much happening every day in your back yard (although this past summer was the hottest on record in the US). Instead they are planetwide in scale and scope. For example, the Arctic is warming up. This much is taken as a given fact now. Not a place that most of us have ever been to, or even think about very much. But the weather that affects the whole world is partially created there.
Arctic climate change is usually viewed as caused by the retreat of sea ice. This coupled with a lengthening of the snow-free season there has resulted in the spring thaw arriving an average of 2.3 days earlier each decade. As a result, plants in the region now “leaf out” about 2.7 days earlier than in previous decades. Likewise, the first freeze each year is arriving slightly later, allowing plants to extend their growing season.has increased atmospheric heating locally by an amount similar in magnitude to the regional heating expected over multiple decades from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Continuation of this trend could further amplify atmospheric heating in the region by two to seven times and could possibly contribute to broader changes in climate, according to a new study to be published in the Sept. 22, 2005, issue of Science Express.
Summer warming is more pronounced over land than over sea ice, and atmosphere and sea-ice observations can’t explain this,” said Terry Chapin, a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’.”Snowmelt is 2.5 days earlier for each of the past several decades. Continuation of current trends in shrub and tree expansion could further amplify this atmospheric heating 2-7 times.This mechanism should be incorporated into climate models. It’s the changes in season length rather than increases in vegetation that explains this observation.
Tundra fire off the Sag River on the North Slope of Alaska
Because there is a shorter period of snow on the ground, solar radiation is absorbed by the land surface more readily, and contributes to heating, thus accelerating the melting of snow and allowing for more plant growth. Over time, as the permafrost begins to melt, ancient organic matter that has been frozen for thousands of years is exposed, potentially adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
The result is a positive feedback loop that could continue to raise temperatures in the region and further lengthen the snow-free period each year. Since the early 1960s, scientists have identified “hotspots” of slowly increasing average summer temperatures in the Arctic, from 0.15 degrees Celsius to about 2 degrees Celsius for an average increase of 1.2 degrees Celsius in the summertime.
“The vegetation change is pretty dramatic,” said Howard E. Epstein, an associate professor at the University of Virginia. “The tundra is getting greener, and there is a noticeable increase in shrubs. This is observable from satellite data and by observations on the ground. Native American people in the region and nearby areas also have noted the changes in weather and vegetation.”
“We know that certain parts of the Arctic are warming pretty substantially and more so than in other regions around the globe,” Epstein said. “This is significant because conditions in the Arctic affect global atmosphere conditions. The Arctic is dominated by snow and ice, and if this condition were to change, even subtly, there is potential for further change to the global climate.”
At the 7th International Carbon Dioxide Conference in Boulder, Colorado, Dr. Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology said that the kind of devastation seen on the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina may be a small taste of what is to come if emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) are not diminished soon. If current trends continue, some 5 trillion tons of carbon is expected to be spewed into the atmosphere over the next three centuries from human fossil-fuel burning. It will have serious consequences by warming the planet on average between 7 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit and turning the oceans acidic.
These global changes would happen so fast they would overwhelm most natural processes and have devastating effects on plant and animal life on land and in the oceans. What we do this decade and the rest of this century will dramatically affect what happens to our planet for thousands of years to come,” Caldeira cautions. “Although centuries seem like a long time, they aren’t when you look at how long it takes organisms to adapt to new conditions. What if people a few centuries ago had knowingly damaged our long-term climate and ocean chemistry for their short-term gain; what would we think of them?
He states that if the planet were to warm by only 3.6 degrees F per century, as suggested by some models, the snow and ice in latitudes near the poles would melt and higher temperature bands would “march poleward” by more than 30 feet (10 meters) per day, affecting everything in the wake. If CO2 from fossil-fuel resources is ultimately released to the atmosphere, the Antarctic and Arctic ice sheets would be at risk of melting, which would cause a rise in sea level potentially over 230 feet (70 meters) over several thousand years.
In addition to the effects from temperature increases, Caldeira discusses how the chemistry of the oceans would be altered. Carbon dioxide dissolves in water to produce carbonic acid—a corrosive agent that would eat away shells and skeletal materials of marine organisms. This ocean acidity could kill off entire species, including those vital to the bottom of the planet’s food chain. Caldeira emphasizes that “to find comparable events in Earth history, we need to look back tens of millions of years to rare catastrophic events.”
A story that appears in the September 16 issue of Science seems to support this prediction of more catastrophic weather to come. It shows that the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes worldwide has nearly doubled over the past 35 years, even though the total number of hurricanes has dropped since the 1990s. The shift occurred as global sea surface temperatures have increased over the same period.
Photo from: Weather Services International
Peter Webster, professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, along with NCAR’s Greg Holland and Georgia Tech’s Judith Curry and Hai-Ru Chang, studied the number, duration, and intensity of hurricanes (also known as typhoons or tropical cyclones) that have occurred worldwide from 1970 to 2004. The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), NCAR’s primary sponsor.
“What we found was rather astonishing,” said Webster. “In the 1970s, there was an average of about 10 Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year globally. Since 1990, the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled, averaging 18 per year globally.”
Category 4 hurricanes have sustained winds from 131 to 155 miles per Hour. Category 5 systems, such as Hurricane Katrina at its peak over the Gulf of Mexico, feature winds of 156 mph or more. “Category 4 and 5 storms are also making up a larger share of the total number of hurricanes,” said Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech and coauthor of the study. “Category 4 and 5 hurricanes made up about 20% of all hurricanes in the 1970s, but over the last decade they accounted for about 35% of these storms.” The largest increases in the number of intense hurricanes occurred in the North Pacific, Southwest Pacific, and the North and South Indian Oceans, with slightly smaller increases in the North Atlantic Ocean. All this is happening as sea surface temperatures have risen across the globe anywhere from around one-half to 1 degree Fahrenheit, depending on the region, for hurricane seasons since the 1970s.
“Our work is consistent with the concept that there is a relationship between increasing sea surface temperature and hurricane intensity,” said Webster. “However, it’s not a simple relationship. In fact, it’s difficult to explain why the total number of hurricanes and their longevity has decreased during the last decade, when sea surface temperatures have risen the most.”
If you would like to show your support for those of us who are trying to educate people about ignoring Global Warming and you think it is a good idea to urge our Lawmakers to take the steps necessary to lessen the impact of Climate Change, then I ask you to join the Virtual March on Washington. All you need to do is sign up on my sponser page and you will be counted among those who are against the ongoing destruction of our planet. It won’t cost you anything so please join me. Click HERE to sign the petition.
Portions of this story were compiled from various press releases supplied by; Eurekalert
SUMMIT FAILS WORLD-NO ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Friends of The Earth: The United Nations (UN) Summit, which ends today in New York, has been criticised by Friends of the Earth for failing to agree any firm action on climate change.
Antarctic hole in ozone layer nears record size
Reuters: The hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica has grown to near record size this year, suggesting 20 years of pollution controls have so far had little effect, the United Nations said on Friday.
Your Top 10 ways to take on global warming
New Scientist: Think climate change is the problem of big business and industry? Think again. New Scientist reveals how you can combat climate change
Heatwave boosted plant CO2
BBC: The 2003 heatwave turned Europe’s plants from absorbers to producers of carbon dioxide, a new study finds.
Warmer summers affect high latitudes
Daily Camera: ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Global warming research in Alaska has centered largely on its warmer winters. But a new paper concludes that summer warming in arctic Alaska also has had a strong effect on high latitude climate change.
British scientist criticises US climate ‘loonies’
Eco-Portal Environmental Sustainability Newsfeed: THE growing ferocity of hurricanes hitting the United States is probably caused by global warming, a British scientist says.
Spain’s drought worst on record, no relief seen
Reuters: Spain has suffered the driest year on record and meteorologists do not forecast enough rain in the coming months to top up drained reservoirs, the National Institute of Meteorology said on Monday.
Tropical Deforestation Affects Rainfall in the US and Around the World
Africa Leader>: “..of any of these tropical forests, Amazonia, Central Africa or Southeast Asia policies, especially since deforestation rates in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia..”
Ill winds that whisper the collapse of civilisation
Sydney Morning Herald: The hurricanes devastating the American coast are the wake-up call the world needs. Do nothing about climate change, and the collapse of civilisation is “inevitable”, according to Dr Tim Flannery.
Aviation ‘huge threat to CO2 aim’
BBC: If growth in air travel is not curbed UK homes and firms will have to cut CO2 emissions to zero, a report says.
Climate food crisis ‘to deepen’
BBC: Climate change threatens to put far more people at risk of hunger over the next 50 years than previously thought, according to new research.
Climate change hurts Africa most: scientists
Reuters: Global warming has been blamed for increased cycles of drought across Africa, where millions this year face hunger and starvation.
Huge New Climate Coalition Launched
Friends of the Earth: Organisations with millions of supporters have today united to demand action on climate change. Eighteen campaign groups, including some of Britain’s best known organisations, have joined forces to launch the biggest climate change coalition this country has ever seen.
‘Warming link’ to big hurricanes
BBC: Records over 35 years show that hurricanes have got stronger in recent times, according to a global study.
Climate Change Threatens Human Health, New Report Shows
Medical News Today: The Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) are calling for a national response to one of the world’s most significant environmental threats – climate change and its effect on human health.
Report says global warming could spark conflict
Reuters: Rising world temperatures could cause a significant increase in disease across Asia and Pacific Island nations, leading to conflict and leaving hundreds of millions of people displaced, a new report said on Thursday.
Global warming forces Britain’s birds to take flight
Independent: The Scottish crossbill may be going; the black kite may be coming. Climate change appears to be widely affecting Britain’s wild birds, a study show
Global Warming Past The Point of No Return
AlterSlash: “The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a ‘tipping point’ beyond which nothing can reverse the continual..”Now that global warming is irreversible, we don’t have to modify our behaviour! No more Kyoto treaty, I can buy that giant SUV I’ve always wanted, and it doesn’t matter!
South Atlantic hurricane rings climate alarm bells
New Scientist: Hurricane Catarina hit Brazil in March 2004 and was the first and only hurricane ever recorded in the South Atlantic—global warming may be to blame
Global warming may have big effect on air pressure
New Scientist: Climate predictions may have to be rethought, following the discovery that warming may have a bigger effect on air pressure than realised