Earth ChangesS


Al Gore uses Nazis as tool to win world minds over to global warming belief

Gore / Nazis - two words I thought I'd never see together, and never wanted to. Yet here it is in a story in the Times Online. Surprisingly, Hollywood has been exploiting this linkage for years. I suppose the appearance of a proof of Godwins Law was inevitable, given how long the global warming discussion and Gore have gone on.

Does anyone else besides me get the impression that Al Gore is really reaching now? At the end of this post, Mr. Gore listed only two possible future questions, I'm sure our readers can fill in some of the missing ones. - Anthony

Addendum: I wonder, did Gore get paid for this speaking engagement "sponsored by The Times" and if so, is The Times responsible for creating this "news" where there would be none otherwise? - Anthony


Climate projections: Past performance no guarantee of future skill?

world crystal ball
© unknown

Forecasting accuracy of Global Climate Models is something that has been at the very heart of the global warming debate for some time. Leif Svalgaard turned me on to this paper in GRL today:

Reifen, C., and R. Toumi (2009), Climate projections: Past performance no guarantee of future skill?, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L13704, doi:10.1029/2009GL038082.

PDF available here

It makes a very interesting point about the "stationarity" of climate feedback strengths. In a nutshell, it says that climate models break down after a time because both forcings and feedbacks don't remain static, and the program can't predict such changes.


EPA's Jackson and Energy Sec. Chu on the Senate hot seat

In case you missed the debate on the Senate floor today over the Waxman-Markey bill, here is a video segment of interest.

Jackson agrees that the USA effect on global CO2 would be minimal, Chu does not.

Washington, D.C.-During a hearing today in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, EPA Administrator Jackson confirmed an EPA analysis showing that unilateral U.S. action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would have no effect on climate. Moreover, when presented with an EPA chart depicting that outcome, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said he disagreed with EPA's analysis.


Alaska: 'Uplift' baffles scientists, transforms area beach

Like a giant fist punching through the earth, a 1,000-foot long section of the beach below Bluff Point rose up 20 feet from the tidelands sometime last Friday or late Thursday, pushing boulders up from the ocean bottom, cracking sandstone slabs and toppling rocks upside down.
Homer News Alaska Uplift
© Photo by Michael Armstrong Two men climb an uplift on the beach below Bluff Point on Sunday.

Below Bluff Point, a new fissure opened up at the base of the 800-foot high cliff. The uplift could be a re-activation of a landslide that happened perhaps 12,000 years ago.

"There was just beach before," said Ron Hess, who lives on Bluff Road above the new uplift. "Now there are tidal pools."

"You can see a rock circle," said Marilyn Hess. "All you used to see was one big rock, and now you can see this uplift of rock."

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.1 - Off The Coast Of Oregon

© US Geological Survey

Friday, July 10, 2009 at 00:31:27 UTC
Thursday, July 09, 2009 at 03:31:27 PM at epicenter

44.550°N, 129.827°W

26.6 km (16.5 miles)

455 km (283 miles) W (275°) from Yachats, OR

457 km (284 miles) W (268°) from Depoe Bay, OR

457 km (284 miles) W (271°) from Newport, OR

537 km (334 miles) W (278°) from Eugene, OR

575 km (357 miles) W (262°) from Portland, OR


US: Striking salamander species found

New salamander species
© T. LambThe yellow patch on the nose is a distinctive feature
A striking new species of lungless salamander has been found living in a small stream in the Appalachian foothills of the US.

The salamander is so distinct that it's been classified within its own genus, a taxonomic grouping that usually includes a host of related species.

The creature breathes through its skin, and unusually for its kind, males and females have different colouration.

Such a distinct amphibian has not been found in the US for half a century.

The researchers who discovered the salamander describe it in the Journal of Zoology. They have dubbed it the 'patch-nosed' salamander after the yellow patch on the animal's snout.

Bizarro Earth

US: Mysterious tremors detected on San Andreas Fault

Los Angeles - Scientists have detected a spike in underground rumblings on a section of California's San Andreas Fault that produced a magnitude-7.8 earthquake in 1857.

What these mysterious vibrations say about future earthquakes is far from certain. But some think the deep tremors suggest underground stress may be building up faster than expected and may indicate an increased risk of a major temblor.

Bizarro Earth

More than 300 injured by 6.0 magnitude quake in China

A moderate earthquake rocked southwest China Thursday evening, injuring at least 336 people and collapsing 10,000 homes, state media said. The magnitude-6.0 temblor, centered in Yunnan province's Yao'an county, damaged another 30,000 homes, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Thirty people suffered severe injuries, while the other 305 were slightly injured, Xinhua said.

The quake was followed by eight aftershocks and the provincial civil affairs department was sending 4,500 tents, 3,000 quilts and other relief materials to Yao'an, Xinhua said.

Hundreds of police were dispatched to the disaster zone, it said.


Monkeys have a memory for grammar

© Gary Ramage / Newspix / Rex FeaturesHe may not be conjugating Latin verbs, but this cotton-topped tamarin can remember some simple grammar
Primates can intuitively recognise some rules of grammar, according to a study of cotton-topped tamarin monkeys (Saguinus oedipus).

The findings do not mean primates can communicate using language, but they do suggest that some of the skills required to use language may be linked to very basic memory functions.

One grammatical structure that is found across many languages is affixation: the addition of syllables, either at the beginning or at the end of a word, to modify its meaning.

For instance, in English, the suffix " - ed" is added to verbs to make the past tense. In German, the same effect is achieved by adding the prefix "ge - " to the front of verb stems.

Ansgar Endress and colleagues at Harvard University thought that, because this structure is found in so many languages, it might be linked to basic memory functions that are independent of language. If they could prove this was true, it would suggest ways that children might be learning grammatical structures.


Turtles crawl on runway, delay flights at JFK Airport

A runway at New York City's Kennedy Airport was shut down Wednesday morning after 78 turtles emerged from the bay and crawled onto the tarmac.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says grounds crews rounded up the wayward reptiles in about 35 minutes and deposited them back in the water, further from airport property.

The shutdown disrupted flight schedules, though, with delays climbing to nearly 1 1/2 hours. Pilots reported the first turtle sightings at around 8:30 a.m.