Earth ChangesS


Newly Discovered Frogs in Madagascar

All green frog
© Reuters
An all green frog of the new species Boophis aff. elenae is seen in this undated picture released by the Spanish Scientific Research Council this week. Scientists have found more than 200 new species of frogs in Madagascar.

Red-back frog
© Reuters
A red-backed frog of the new species Guibemantis liber. is shown in this image released by the Spanish Scientific Research Council.


Best of the Web: It's snowing all over the world

© unknown

Ice in the Arctic is often twice as thick as expected, report surprised scientists who returned last week from a major scientific expedition. The scientists - a 20-member contingent from Canada, the U.S., Germany, and Italy - spent one month exploring the North Pole as well as never-before measured regions of the Arctic.

Among their findings: Rather than finding newly formed ice to be two metres thick, "we measured ice thickness up to four metres," stated a spokesperson for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research of the Helmholtz Association, Germany's largest scientific organisation.

Then we get this from the United States: "Sorry, Al Gore, but Public Cares About the Economy, Not Global Warming".

Gallup Poll Editor Frank Newport says he sees no evidence that Al Gore's campaign against global warming is winning. "It's just not caught on," says Newport. "They have failed." Or, more bluntly: "Any measure that we look at shows Al Gore's losing at the moment. The public is just not that concerned." What the public is worried about: the economy.

He adds: "As Al Gore I think would say, the greatest challenge facing humanity . . . has failed to show up in our data."


Enormous Shark's Secret Hideout Finally Discovered

© Chris Gotshalk
After half a century of searching, scientists have finally discovered what happens to the world's second largest shark every winter: It has a Caribbean hideout.

Basking sharks, which can grow up to 33 feet long and weigh more than a Hummer H1, spend the late spring, summer and early fall in the temperate regions of the world's oceans. But then they pull their great disappearing act, eluding scientists throughout the winter months.

Better Earth

The Global Warming Hypothesis and Ocean Heat

Ocean Heating model versus actual
© William DiPuccio

Albert Einstein once said, "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." Einstein's words express a foundational principle of science intoned by the logician, Karl Popper: Falsifiability. In order to verify a hypothesis there must be a test by which it can be proved false. A thousand observations may appear to verify a hypothesis, but one critical failure could result in its demise. The history of science is littered with such examples.

A hypothesis that cannot be falsified by empirical observations, is not science. The current hypothesis on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), presented by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is no exception to this principle. Indeed, it is the job of scientists to expose the weaknesses of this hypothesis as it undergoes peer review. This paper will examine one key criterion for falsification: ocean heat.

Ocean heat plays a crucial role in the AGW hypothesis, which maintains that climate change is dominated by human-added, well-mixed green house gasses (GHG). IR radiation that is absorbed and re-emitted by these gases, particularly CO2, is said to be amplified by positive feedback from clouds and water vapor. This process results in a gradual accumulation of heat throughout the climate system, which includes the atmosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and, most importantly, the hydrosphere. The increase in retained heat is projected to result in rising atmospheric temperatures of 2-6ºC by the year 2100.


Danger: Ice Age Ahead

"We're well on our way into the next ice age," says this video from the National Geographic. "One of our major challenges will be how to keep us from killing each other." (I agree.)

"We are hardwired at a genetic level to seek survival at almost any cost," says Dr. Irwin Redlener of Columbia University. Our base survival instincts will kick in as the food chain collapses, says Redlener, an expert at the National Cdnter for Disaster Preparedness. Civilization as we know it will change forever. We could see deadly competition for food, for water, and for power, as civilization collapses. (I agree.)


It's (still) snowing all over the world.

Heavy snow once more in the Alps -- First tracks for 2009 set in southern hemisphere. -- Up to another foot or so of snow for resorts still open in US. -- Big Pre-season snowfalls In Australia

Although the number of ski areas around the world still open for skiing and boarding continues to diminish, heavy snow is still falling in the Alps and the Rockies, even though May is just days away. In the southern hemisphere Australian resorts have reported big pre-season snowfalls. Despite the late date in the season, powder alarms were in double figures this week with many of the resorts that are still open in the Alps reporting falls of 30-60cm (12-24 inches).

Bizarro Earth

Heavy Pre-Season Snow in Australia

Perisher New South Wales Ski Resort
© SkiInfoPerisher

Over half-a-metre (20 inches) of snow has been falling on Australia's ski slopes over the past 48 hours, with most still not expecting to open for nearly six weeks or more.

Snow continues to fall at Perisher in New South Wales. From the peaks to the valleys, a thick layer of snow can be found, making the resort look more like July than April. Another 25cm (10 inches) of snow settled across the upper elevations on Monday night, April 27th.

Overnight temperatures dropped to -5 degrees Celsius and it is currently 0 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the Forester Quad Express. Weather forecasters have predicted that overnight temperatures will stay nice and cool with more snow showers expected in early May. Cold temperatures will also allow Perisher to commence its snowmaking operations earlier as well.

Better Earth

Southern Hemisphere Ski Season Starts Five Weeks Early

Mt Buller
© SkiInfoMt Buller

The southern hemisphere's ski season will have one of its earliest openings on record this weekend when Mt Buller in Australia runs its lifts on Saturday, May 2nd.

The resort, in Victoria province, had not planned to open before June and the new date is five weeks ahead of schedule. It's the area's earliest opening in its 45 year history.

The opening is the result of unseasonably cold weather which brought up to 50cm (20 inches) of snow to many of Australia's ski fields (Buller has 35cm/14 inches), although currently there are no reports of any others planning to follow Mt Buller and open early.


End Of Season Snow Boost For French Alps

French Alps Snow
© SkiInfoStill more fresh snow to groom in France

Despite the late date in the season, powder alarms were in double figures this week with many of the resorts that are still open in the Alps reporting falls of 30-60cm (12-24 inches).

France got the best of the snow yesterday with Tignes, Val d'Isere, Val Thorens, Argentiere and Chamonix all reporting heavy new snowfalls on Tuesday (28 April), La Grave had 20cm (eight inches) of new snow on Sunday (26 April).


Last Week of Winter in France, But it's Still Snowing

Tignes ski slope
© SkiInfoTignes

Two resorts are left open in France, but both Chamonix and Tignes will close for the winter this weekend on Sunday May 10th. Then there's a month's wait until the country's three summer ski options - Tignes, Val d'Isere and Les 2 Alpes open. In the meantime the only snow skiing in France will be indoors, at the Amneville indoor slope.