Earth ChangesS


Pink dolphin appears in US lake

The world's only pink Bottlenose dolphin which was discovered in an inland lake in Louisiana, USA, has become such an attraction that conservationists have warned tourists to leave it alone.

Pink dolphin
© Caters NewsPinky the rare albino dolphin has been spotted in Lake Calcasieu in Louisiana, USA
Charter boat captain Erik Rue, 42, photographed the animal, which is actually an albino, when he began studying it after the mammal first surfaced in Lake Calcasieu, an inland saltwater estuary, north of the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern USA.

Capt Rue originally saw the dolphin, which also has reddish eyes, swimming with a pod of four other dolphins, with one appearing to be its mother which never left its side.


South Korea: Strange Humanoid Carp Found in Pond

humanoid carp
© Unknown
The hybrid descendants of a carp and a leather carp (tangerine fish) are the new sensation in the small South Korean town of Chongju because of their "humanoid" facial features.

The look suddenly appears after observing the front part of their heads for a moment or two. Two lines and two dots on their heads bear some resemblance to human eyes.

The local newspapers managed to snap some sensational pictures of the fish, which are about 80 centimeters long (more than three feet) and 50 centimeters (almost two feet) in circumference.


Polar regions found warming fast, raising sea levels

Geneva - The Arctic and Antarctic regions are warming faster than previously thought, raising world sea levels and making drastic global climate change more likely than ever, international scientists said on Wednesday.

New evidence of the trend was uncovered by wide-ranging research in the two areas over the past two years in a United Nations-backed programme dubbed the International Polar Year (IPY), they said.

"Snow and ice are declining in both polar regions, affecting human livelihoods as well as local plant and animal life in the Arctic as well as global atmospheric circulation and sea-level," according to a summary of a report by the researchers.

An assessment of the findings of the research was still being refined, said the IPY's "State of Polar Research" report.

"But it now appears certain that both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass and thus raising sea level, and that the rate of ice loss from Greenland is growing," it said.

"New data also confirm that warming in the Antarctic is much more widespread than it was thought prior to IPY."

Comment: Alarmist journalism at its best. This new data that confirms Antarctic warming is a complete mess, see this link here. This great evidence, even if there is a snowball's chance in heck of it standing up to scrutiny would show nothing more than a cycle in Antarctica just as has happened dozens of times in the past. But the new great evidence appears to be just another Michael Mann "Hockey Stick" piece of work where the authors chose the data parameters and algorithms for the specific purpose of generating warming evidence where none exists.

The effectiveness of the propaganda machine is evidenced by the very existence of this piece of info-entertainment journalism. It does however accomplish its purpose of spoon feeding the public that something never seen before in billions of years of the history of the planet's climate is now taking place which is utter nonsense.

More than 63 countries and some 10,000 scientists took part in the $1.5 billion programme, which began in March 2007 and ends next month.

Comment: The above article and this similar one are great examples of the sleeping press, propagating the global warming signal to the public.

Better Earth

Flashback Greenland's Ice Sheet is Growing

Greenland Icesheet growing
© European Space AgencyMap of Greenland with temperature changes.

Researchers have utilised more than a decade's worth of data from radar altimeters on ESA's ERS satellites to produce the most detailed picture yet of thickness changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet.

A Norwegian-led team used the ERS data to measure elevation changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2003, finding recent growth in the interior sections estimated at around six centimetres per year during the study period. The research is due to be published by Science Magazine in November, having been published in the online Science Express on 20 October.

ERS radar altimeters work by sending 1800 separate radar pulses down to Earth per second then recording how long their echoes take to bounce back 800 kilometres to the satellite platform. The sensor times its pulses' journey down to under a nanosecond to calculate the distance to the planet below to a maximum accuracy of two centimetres.

Comment: As it stands today (March 2, 2009) Cryosat2 is scheduled to launch later this year. Interesting how such a great tool (CryoSat1) that would have helped examine the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets should have been tragically (conveniently for some) lost.

The loss of the recent CO2 emissions analyzing satellite is similarly interesting. The High Risks involved in space launches seems to find a way to target some of our most promising data sensors for "Global Warming" research.


Woman Injured by Humpback Whale Near Hawaii

A 61-year-old Bremerton woman was injured Friday when a whale fin struck the boat she was riding in, two Hawaii newspapers reported.

The Honolulu Advertiser and Maui News reported the woman, who was not identified, fell and suffered minor injuries after a male humpback whale surfaced next to the whale-watching and research vessel, and the whale's pectoral fin hit the boat's starboard side.

The woman was thrown to the deck of the vessel and struck her head. She was conscious and alert as she was being taken to a Maui hospital.


Origin of Life On Earth: Scientists Unlock Mystery Of Molecular Machine

A major mystery about the origins of life has been resolved. According to a study published in the journal Nature, two Université de Montréal scientists have proposed a new theory for how a universal molecular machine, the ribosome, managed to self-assemble as a critical step in the genesis of all life on Earth.

"While the ribosome is a complex structure it features a clear hierarchy that emerged based on basic chemical principles," says Sergey Steinberg, a Université de Montréal biochemistry professor who made his discovery with student Konstantin Bokov. "In the absence of such explanations, some people could imagine unseen forces at work when such complex structures emerge in nature."

Bizarro Earth

Almost 200 whales beached in Australia

Sydney - Nearly 200 whales and several dolphins are stranded on a beach in the southern Australian island state of Tasmania, the latest in a string of beachings in recent months.

Rescuers were headed Monday to Naracoopa Beach on Tasmania's King Island to try to save some of the 194 pilot whales and half a dozen bottlenose dolphins that began beaching themselves on Sunday evening.


US: Rare snow blankets South as East braces for storm

Alabama snow
© Associated Press/Dave MartinAn early March snowstorm dumped snow across Alabama, Sunday, March 1, 2009. The storm then moved into Georgia, causing plane cancellations and threatening the East coast.
A potent March snowstorm blanketed much of the Southeast with snow Sunday before barreling toward the Northeast, where officials prepared snowplows and road-salt for a wintery assault.

The icy blast threatened to drop up to a foot of snow in the Philadelphia area, 13 inches in New York and 15 inches across southern New England late Sunday.

Thousands of New York City sanitation workers prepared to salt city streets, and airlines preemptively canceled flights Sunday at the region's major airports.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation planned to attack the snow in the Philadelphia area with 400 trucks and 77,000 tons of stockpiled salt, assistant press secretary Gene Blaum said.

Better Earth

Steig's Antarctic Heartburn

Foreword by Anthony Watts:
penguin flames
© Dave Stephens

This article, written by the two Jeffs (Jeff C and Jeff Id) is one of the more technically complex essays ever presented on WUWT. It has been several days in the making. One of the goals I have with WUWT is to make sometimes difficult to understand science understandable to a wider audience. In this case the statistical analysis is rather difficult for the layman to comprehend, but I asked for (and got) an essay that was explained in terms I think many can grasp and understand. That being said, it is a long article, and you may have to read it more than once to fully grasp what has been presented here. Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit laid much of the ground work for this essay, and from his work as well as this essay, it is becoming clearer that Steig et al (see "Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year", Nature, Jan 22, 2009) isn't holding up well to rigorous tests as demonstrated by McIntyre as well as in the essay below. Unfortunately, Steig's office has so far deferred (several requests) to provide the complete data sets needed to replicate and test his paper, and has left on a trip to Antarctica and the remaining data is not "expected" to be available until his return.

To help layman readers understand the terminology used, here is a mini-glossary in advance:

RegEM - Regularized Expectation Maximization
PCA - Principal Components Analysis
PC - Principal Components
AWS - Automatic Weather Stations

One of the more difficult concepts is RegEM, an algorithm developed by Tapio Schneider in 2001. It's a form of expectation maximization (EM) which is a common and well understood method for infilling missing data. As we've previously noted on WUWT, many of the weather stations used in the Steig et al study had issues with being buried by snow, causing significant data gaps in the Antarctic record and in some burial cases stations have been accidentally lost or confused with others at different lat/lons. Then of course there is the problem of coming up with trends for the entire Antarctic continent when most of the weather station data is from the periphery and the penisula, with very little data from the interior.

Expectation Maximization is a method which uses a normal distribution to compute the best probability of fit to a missing piece of data. Regularization is required when so much data is missing that the EM method won't solve. That makes it a statistically dangerous technique to use and as Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in an e-mail: "It is hard to make data where none exist." (Source: MSNBC article) It is also valuable to note that one of the co-authors of Steig et al, Dr. Michael Mann, dabbles quite a bit in RegEm in this preparatory paper to Mann et al 2008 "Return of the Hockey Stick".

For those that prefer to print and read, I've made a PDF file of this article available here.

Comment: The basic point of this paper is that the highly glorified global warming paper recently produced by Eric Steig that shows Antarctica to be warming, seems at this point and time to be highly flawed. Until Eric Steig is more forthcoming with the data he used to produce his conclusions that Antarctica is warming, the evidence at this point appears that he chose specific methods, specific data points, and specific algorithms that all provided him with the greatest possible outcome that he was seeking.

It is starting to look like the Michael Mann hockey stick debacle all over again. But in the global warming world this makes no difference. The Steig paper accomplished what it set out to do, "influence the world and reinforce the global warming propaganda."


Historical Photographs Expose Decline In Florida's Reef Fish, Study Finds

© University of California - San DiegoTrophy fish caught on Key West charter boats: a) 1957, b) early 1980s and c) 2007.

A unique study by a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has provided fresh evidence of fishing's impact on marine ecosystems. Scripps Oceanography graduate student researcher Loren McClenachan accessed archival photographs spanning more than five decades to analyze and calculate a drastic decline of so-called "trophy fish" caught around coral reefs surrounding Key West, Florida.

In a paper published online in January and printed in an upcoming issue of the journal Conservation Biology, McClenachan describes a stark 88 percent decline in the estimated weight of large predatory fish imaged in black-and-white 1950s sport fishing photos compared to the relatively diminutive catches photographed in modern pictures. In a companion paper being published in the Endangered Species Research journal, McClenachan employs similar methods to document the decline of the globally endangered goliath grouper fish.