Earth ChangesS

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UN Climate Chief Refuses to Resign Over Glacier Report Error

The head of the UN panel on climate change has brushed aside suggestions that he should resign in the wake of a row over a false report on the threat of global warming.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently admitted it made a mistake in its 2007 assessment of the rates of glacier melting in the Himalayas.

"I am not going to stand down, I am going to stand up," the BBC quoted Rajendra Pachauri as saying.

The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 said that Himalayan glaciers were receding at an unprecedented speed and could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035. The statement was widely disputed by the global scientific community.

Igloo

Winter storm closes roads across Canadian Prairies

Canada blizzard conditions on Highway 1 wes
© UnknownTruck drivers struggle to navigate through blizzard conditions on Highway 1 west between Winnipeg and Portage-la-Prairie on Monday, Jan. 25, 2010.
A harsh blast of winter weather is wreaking havoc on the Prairies, with high winds and blowing snow making travel treacherous Monday across southern Manitoba -- even stopping snow plows.

Blizzard conditions continued throughout the Southern Red River Valley on Monday afternoon, where Environment Canada weather warnings are in affect.

"Strong north winds" were expected to "reduce visibilities to near zero in blowing snow," the warning said. "Gradual improvement is expected through the afternoon."

"We've got wind gusts of up to 80 kilometres per hour, so there is near zero visibility over parts of Manitoba," spokesperson Sandy Massey told The Canadian Press.

The storm closed the Trans-Canada Highway west of Winnipeg, as well as Highway 75 between Winnipeg and the U.S. border, the provincial government's website said.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake - Peru

Earthquake Details
Peru 5.8 Earthquake - USGS
© US Geological SurveyEarthquake Location
Magnitude 5.8 CENTRAL PERU
Monday, January 25, 2010 at 22:52:47 UTC

Magnitude 5.8

Date-Time
* Monday, January 25, 2010 at 22:52:47 UTC
* Monday, January 25, 2010 at 05:52:47 PM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 8.546°S, 74.467°W

Depth 153.4 km (95.3 miles)

Region CENTRAL PERU

Distances
20 km (10 miles) SSE of Pucallpa, Peru
230 km (140 miles) WSW of Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil
240 km (150 miles) NE of Huanuco, Peru
485 km (300 miles) NE of LIMA, Peru

Bizarro Earth

Maximum Height of Extreme Waves Up Dramatically in Pacific Northwest

Image
© Erica Harris/Oregon State UniversityWaves from a powerful storm crash into the seawall at Depoe Bay, Oregon.
A major increase in maximum ocean wave heights off the Pacific Northwest in recent decades has forced scientists to re-evaluate how high a "100-year event" might be, and the new findings raise special concerns for flooding, coastal erosion and structural damage.

The new assessment concludes that the highest waves may be as much as 46 feet, up from estimates of only 33 feet that were made as recently as 1996, and a 40 percent increase. December and January are the months such waves are most likely to occur, although summer waves are also significantly higher.

In a study just published online in the journal Coastal Engineering, scientists from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries report that the cause of these dramatically higher waves is not completely certain, but "likely due to Earth's changing climate."

Using more sophisticated techniques that account for the "non-stationarity" in the wave height record, researchers say the 100-year wave height could actually exceed 55 feet, with impacts that would dwarf those expected from sea level rise in coming decades.

Snowman

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn't been verified

Glacier
© AlamyChilling error: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrongly asserted that glaciers in the Himalayas would melt by 2035
The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report's chapter on Asia, said: 'It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.

Igloo

Poland sinks further into deep freeze

Image
Thermometer plunges in Warsaw, Monday.
As temperatures plunge to minus 30 C in some places in Poland, the winter claimed more lives, the Government Security Center (GSC) has announced.

"Sixteen people have died from hypothermia over the weekend, eleven of them within the last 24 hours," GSC's Bozena Wysocka told Polskie Radio.

The statistics do not only concern the homeless, as some people have frozen to death in their homes. The dead also includes a 13-year old boy found on Saturday, who died on his way home.

The extreme weather conditions caused power outages due to network failures, with entire provinces deprived of electricity in southern Poland. The military has for several days now been assisting the efforts to remove ice from electricity lines. About 8,000 households remain without power in the country.

Meanwhile, last night the temperature has hit a new low, with -30 degrees C in the eastern parts of the country. What's worse, some parts of southern Poland are still deprived of electricity after heavy snow falls at the beginning of January. At the ground level, the temperature fell even below -30 degrees Celsius (-22F) in south eastern Poland, Anna Nemec of a weather forecast center told the newspaper. Tonight is supposed to be even colder. Only in January, over 70 persons died due to the harsh weather conditions.

Igloo

Temperatures as low as minus 34 as fresh cold snap hits Europe

Snowmen protest climate change!
© OBSHelp, I'm melting: In the German capital of Berlin, artist Ralf Schmerberg erected 750 snowmen as part of a demonstration calling for greater efforts to fight climate change. Schmerberg called on aspiring snow sculptors across the city to participate in the action.
Vienna/Berlin - A fresh cold snap on top of an already unseasonably cold winter in Europe has seen temperatures plummet as low as minus 34, and left a mounting toll of death and disruption on Monday. The worst death toll appeared to be in Romania, where authorities confirmed 23 deaths over the weekend. The authorities urged hospitals to open their doors to the homeless to give them shelter.

A record low of minus 34 was recorded in the town of Bilaystok, north-east Poland overnight Sunday to Monday.

Some 8,000 people in the east of the country were left without electricity after a power outage on Sunday, the Polish Press Agency reported.

Better Earth

New Finding on Key Element of Earth's Lower Mantle

The electronic spin state of iron in perovskite, a major component of Earth's lower mantle, can influence the physical and chemical properties of the mantle. However, previous studies have presented an unclear picture of the spin state of iron in perovskite, with some experiments contradicting computational results.

In a new experiment designed to better control the conditions under which perovskite is synthesized, Grocholski et al. measured the spin state of iron in perovskite. They found the dominant spin state at pressures below 50 gigapascals (7.25 million pounds per square inch) to be high spin but observed a transition to a possible mixed spin state at higher pressures.

These results indicate that perovskite is in a mixed or high spin state at least to 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) depth in the mantle, consistent with computational results.

Fish

Study of Shark Virgin Birth Shows Offspring Can Survive Long Term

Shark pups born to virgin mothers can survive over the long-term, according to new research published Jan. 25, 2010 in the Journal of Heredity. The study shows for the first time that some virgin births can result in viable offspring.

Genetic analysis led by a Field Museum scientist working with numerous colleagues has confirmed the first known case of a virgin female shark producing multiple offspring that survived. Two daughters of the white-spotted bamboo shark are now more than five years old. Earlier research proved that reproduction occurred in two other shark species without aid of male sperm, a phenomenon called parthenogenesis, but the offspring did not survive in those cases.

Dr. Kevin Feldheim, manager of the Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution at the Field Museum, analyzed the sharks' genetic material to rule out any paternal reproduction assistance.

Life Preserver

More Scandals Implicate Delusional IPCC Climate Scientists

Only days after the failed Copenhagen Global Warming Summit, yet a new scandal over the scientific accuracy of the UN IPCC 2007 climate report has emerged. Following the major data-manipulation scandals from the UN-tied research center at Britain's East Anglia University late 2009, the picture emerges of one of the most massive scientific frauds of recent history.

Senior members of the UN climate project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been forced to admit a major error in the 2007 IPCC UN report that triggered the recent global campaign for urgent measures to reduce "manmade emissions" of CO2. The IPCC's 2007 report stated, "glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world." Given that this is the world's highest mountain range and meltdown implies a massive flooding of India, China and the entire Asian region, it was a major scare "selling point" for the IPCC agenda. As well, the statement on the glacier melt in the 2007 IPCC report contains other serious errors such as the statement that "Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 square kilometers by the year 2035." There are only 33,000 square kilometers of glaciers in the Himalayas. And a table in the report says that between 1845 and 1965, the Pindari Glacier shrank by 2,840 meters. Then comes a math mistake: It says that's a rate of 135.2 meters a year, when it really is only 23.5 meters a year. Now scientists around the world are scouring the entire IPCC report for indications of similar lack of scientific rigor.