Earth ChangesS

Ambulance

Global Warming Teach-In

Global warming is not a crisis, but it may be creating a crisis of intellectual integrity.

Last month, college campuses held a "National Teach-in on Global Warming Solutions." The thrust of the message was that there is a crisis because global temperatures are rising, endangering the world's future, and humans are to blame.

I agree that there may be a crisis, but I don't believe that it is a crisis of impending heat; it is, rather, a crisis of intellectual integrity.

First, let me point out something that most people may not realize. Since 1998, there has been no trend in world temperatures, neither up nor down, in spite of population growth, greater resource use, and lots of carbon dioxide production. True, 1998, was the warmest year on record, and we are still in a warm period, but world temperatures are no higher than when today's college seniors began middle school. The likelihood of the catastrophic effects that gave Al Gore a Nobel Peace Prize is weak.

The crisis that concerns me stems from the way that scientists are addressing the issue. Ever since 1988, when James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, alerted a congressional committee to global warming, climate change has been a political issue.

Evil Rays

Warming might be on hold, study finds

For those who have endured this winter's frigid temperatures and today's heavy snowstorm in the Northeast, the concept of global warming may seem, well, almost wishful.

But climate is known to be variable - a cold winter, or a few strung together doesn't mean the planet is cooling. Still, according to a new study, global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades.

Earth's climate continues to confound scientists. Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat.

"This is nothing like anything we've seen since 1950," Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said. "Cooling events since then had firm causes, like eruptions or large-magnitude La Ninas. This current cooling doesn't have one."

Comment: The strength of the global warming psychology jumps out at the reader in this article. Buried within the text is the point that the planet is in a cooling phase.

But the behavioral reinforcement (mind training) of the global warming meme is so strong that the scientists and journalists can not even hear the absurdity in their own words.
But climate is known to be variable - a cold winter, or a few strung together doesn't mean the planet is cooling.
But climate is known to be variable - a hot summer, or a few strung together doesn't mean the planet is warming.
Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat.
The greenhouse gas model has failed.
"This is nothing like anything we've seen since 1950," Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said. "Cooling events since then had firm causes, like eruptions or large-magnitude La Ninas. This current cooling doesn't have one."
The current cooling does have a cause. The scientists just don't understand climate the way they assume they do. The current climate models have failed.
The discrepancy gets to the heart of one of the toughest problems in climate science - identifying the difference between natural variability (like the occasional March snow storm) from human-induced change.
From human-induced change??? The 1930s were some of the warmest years on record.
James Hansen of NASA GISS:
The U.S. has warmed during the past century, but the warming hardly exceeds year-to-year variability. Indeed, in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934.
The Medieval Warm Period was warmer. How can the scientists model all the dozens of warming and cooling cycles in the past without invoking CO2 and human-induced change? Why is the current warming and now cooling cycle different and only because of CO2 and human-induced change? Nonsense.
But just what's causing the cooling is a mystery. Sinking water currents in the north Atlantic Ocean could be sucking heat down into the depths. Or an overabundance of tropical clouds may be reflecting more of the sun's energy than usual back out into space.
The current climate models have failed. For all their science and models and mathematical algorithms, now they haven't got a clue as to what is going on. That should provide the reader with a lot of confidence.
"It is possible that a fraction of the most recent rapid warming since the 1970's was due to a free variation in climate,"

"Suggesting that the warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again."

he warned that it's just a hiccup, and that humans' penchant for spewing greenhouse gases will certainly come back to haunt us.

"When the climate kicks back out of this state, we'll have explosive warming,"

"Thirty years of greenhouse gas radiative forcing will still be there and then bang, the warming will return and be very aggressive."
The disconnect is amazing!



Better Earth

Inbreeding sabotages rare species' sperm

Image
© Clive Postlethwaite/RexInbreeding among Asiatic lions hampers their reproductive success by sabotaging their sperm.

It's a triple whammy for male animals on the brink of extinction: not only are there fewer mates around to have sex with, but, to make things worse, their sperm are more likely to carry genetic abnormalities and less likely to be good swimmers, research shows.

"It is logical that endangered species are inbred and suffer reductions in fitness, but we don't have a clear idea of what is the driving force behind this," says John Fitzpatrick of the Centre for Evolutionary Biology at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

Fitzpatrick and colleague Jonathan Evans compared existing data on sperm fitness for 20 endangered and non-endangered species of mammals, including the Florida panther, Asiatic lion and cheetah. Scientists have previously observed extreme reductions in sperm quality for each of these big cats - all of which also suffered huge reductions in population size that led to inbreeding.

Bug

Lazy Spider Steals From the Mouths of Ants

Menemerus
© Simon PollardMenemerus bivittatus is one of three species of jumping spider that steal food from ant columns.
Forget stealing from the mouths of babes, zoologists have observed a similarly heinous crime - spiders stealing food from the mouths of ants.

At Mbita Point on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, the walls of the buildings and other surfaces are covered with insects, including thousands of tiny lake flies. Within the throng lurks Menemerus, one of the jumping spiders or saltacids.

These predatory spiders adopt an approach similar to the big cats when hunting. They move very slowly, with their body close to the ground, before leaping on their prey.

Stalking is helped by extremely good vision: there are eight eyes in total, and importantly, two that face forward. These anterio-medial eyes have a visual acuity about one sixth as good as humans and let them "see like a primate and hunt like a lion," says Simon Pollard from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, who led the study.

Jumping spiders are also are known to be capable of solving cognitively complex tasks.

Bizarro Earth

5.0 Earthquake Strikes Southeastern Greece

Greek authorities say a strong earthquake struck the southeastern Aegean overnight, but did not cause any damage or injuries.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute says the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5 and struck just after midnight on Tuesday morning (2200GMT Monday).

Its epicenter was located beneath the seabed 170 miles (300 kilometers) southeast of Athens, between the islands of Kos and Astypalaia.

Bizarro Earth

Wenchuan Earthquake Mudslides Emit Greenhouse Gas

Mudslides that followed the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan, China earthquake, ranked by the US Geological Survey as the 11th deadliest earthquake ever recorded, may cause a carbon-dioxide release in upcoming decades equivalent to two percent of current annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion, a new study shows.

Mudslides wipe away plants and topsoil, depleting terrain of nutrients for plant regrowth and burying swaths of vegetation. Buried vegetable matter decomposes and releases carbon dioxide and other gases to the atmosphere.

The expected carbon dioxide release from the mudslides following the Wenchuan earthquake is similar to that caused by Hurricane Katrina's plant damage, report Diandong Ren, of the University of Texas at Austin, and his colleagues, who used a computer model to predict the ecosystem impacts of the mudslides.

Bizarro Earth

4.8 Earthquake Jolts Southern Philippines

An offshore earthquake measuring 4. 8 on the Richter scale hit the southern Philippines this morning, but no casualty or damage was reported.

The quake was recorded at 05:15 a.m. local time ( 2115 GMT on Monday), and the epicenter was 160 km southeast of Davao, Mindanao, or 1,125 km southeast of Manila at a depth of 35. 0 km, said the United States Geological Service.

The Philippines is hit regularly by earthquakes, and most of them are low in magnitude and cause little damage.

The Southeast Asian country is part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a string of islands on the Pacific Ocean rim that were formed by the eruptions of undersea volcanoes.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake Hits Guam

Guam
© Unknown
An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale hits Guam on Tuesday, March 03, 2009 at 05:10:48 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) and Tuesday, March 03, 2009 at 03:10:48 PM at epicenter local time.

The epicenter of the quake was 105 km (65 miles) WSW of Hagatna, 185 km (115 miles) SW of Rota, Northern Mariana Islands, 305 km (190 miles) SW of SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands, and 410 km (255 miles) SSW of Anatahan, Northern Mariana Islands, according to the US Geological Survey.

On Tuesday, 24 February 2009, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck about 105 miles East-North-East of Guam, but nary a shiver was felt on the island.

Bizarro Earth

UK: 2.8 Earthquake Shakes Kent

Kent
© Peter Macdiarmid/Getty ImagesFolkestone residents sit in the street after an earthquake damaged houses in April 2007.
Krakatoa, east of Maidstone? Not exactly, but tremor did reach 2.8 on Richter scale.

People in Folkestone, Kent were shaken, but not stirred, by a small earthquake in their vicinity yesterday.

A tremor measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale was registered but there were no reports of any damage to buildings or any injuries.

Kent police said: "We have had ­telephone calls and obviously people were concerned that it might be a bomb, but we can confirm it was indeed a tremor."

Frog

Male Lizards Disguise as Females to Avoid Attack

Lizard
© Discovery NewsMale Lizard
Young, male lizards desperate to mate, access women and avoid attack from older males by pretending to be one of the girls, a new study said.

According to the study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, young male Augrabies flat lizards (Platysaurus broadleyi) hide their colors so as to imitate plain, brown females.

"In this system the adult males are extremely colorful and extremely territorial and the females are a plain brown," said co-author Scott Keogh, of the School of Biological Sciences at the Australian National University. "Young males purposefully only develop colors on their belly, so they reach sexual maturity by still looking like a female."

Imitating a female allows the juvenile lizards to mate with females, without being detected and driven away by the larger, territorial, adult males, who will chase and bite their young rivals.