Earth ChangesS


Bizarro Earth

Animals the forgotten victims of Australian fires

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© UnknownSheep search for any patch of fresh grass left after a fire raged through the community of Kinglake, northeast of Melbourne on February 9, 2009.

Overlooked amidst the human tragedy, thousands of animals -- kangaroos and koalas as well as cattle and sheep -- also perished in the scorching fires that have swept through southeast Australia.

At least 130 people died in the flames, official figures showed, but nobody was prepared to venture an estimate on the animal losses.

"It's been absolutely devastating," the president of the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia, Pat O'Brien, told AFP.

"We've lost huge numbers of wildlife in the forest. By all reports we've got animals dying even before the flames reach them.

"Kangaroos, wallabies, all the animals that live in the trees -- the possums, koalas -- just gone, it's been a terrible, terrible thing for wildlife, total devastation," he said.

"There have been huge losses of farm animals as well, but those reports are still coming in."

Clock

Best of the Web: Slippery Slope: Ice Age Cometh in Five Years

It's time for some straight talk. No more beating around the bush. I no longer want to evade an issue around whose edges I've been skirting for 12 years. So I'll come right and say it loud and clear: In all probability, we've come to the end of the line.
Unless I'm grievously mistaken, we are about to go extinct. Soon. In 1997 I warned that we are approaching the onset of a new ice age. I wrote that the record shows that ice ages are preceded by a period of about 20 years, and things get very unpleasant as the end of that period approaches.

Contrary to poor Al Gore's alarmist prediction that the planet is approaching the boiling point, it's getting colder - a lot colder. And it's going to get even colder. Spring and fall will disappear, summers will be short and winters longer and increasingly more frigid.

Info

Best of the Web: Northern Ireland environment minister bans climate change ads

Northern Ireland's environment minister came under fire Monday after he banned a climate change ad campaign, saying it was "nonsense" to suggest people could save the world by turning off their lights.

Sammy Wilson, a member of the Democratic Unionist Party which shares power with Sinn Fein in the British-ruled province, believes mankind is not to blame for global warming.

Comment: It's interesting that he does not believe mankind is responsible for global warming. Have you read Climate Change Swindlers and the Political Agenda?

He refused to allow an advertising campaign produced in London, which urges people to use less energy in the home, to be broadcast in Northern Ireland, saying it was simply "propaganda".

He argued the ads gave people "the impression that by turning off the standby light on their TV they could save the world from melting glaciers and being submerged in 40 feet of water", according to the BBC. "That is patent nonsense," Wilson added.

Bizarro Earth

'Hundreds' of dolphins beached in Philippines

More than 200 dolphins have beached themselves on Manila Bay, officials in the Philippines said Tuesday as they tried to work out why the marine mammals had come ashore.

Residents saw huge pods of dolphins near the towns of Pilar and Abucay on the Bataan peninsula west of Manila.

Bataan governor Enrique Garcia said at least three have died.

"This is an unusual phenomenon," Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Malcolm Sarmiento told local radio, estimating the number of dolphins at "more than 200."

He said they could be reacting to a "heat wave or disturbance at sea" such as a possible major underwater earthquake.

Bizarro Earth

Freak Ice Storm Hits Canada

An unusual bout of warm winter weather turned snow into freezing rain on Monday in western Canada, coating much of Manitoba and Saskatchewan provinces in ice, snapping power lines and stopping travel.

Federal police described the storm as one of the worst to strike the region in decades, with hundreds of vehicles sliding off slick roads.

"We've had emergency vehicles in the ditch, we had a fire truck in the ditch, and even one of the highway sanders was in the ditch," Corporal Larry Dahlman of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told public broadcaster CBC.

Attention

Best of the Web: Global Warming and the Media - Give Us All the Facts

You may have noticed that some of President Obama's most ardent supporters speak of him in almost messianic terms. But there's one public figure who apparently means it literally: James Hansen of NASA.

Hansen, who is the "father" of the global warming movement, recently told the U.K. Guardian that the new President "has only four years to save the world." Unless we implement drastic measures like a "moratorium on new power plants that burn coal" and a hefty "carbon tax," we face an apocalyptic future - "global flooding, wide-spread species loss and major disruptions of weather patterns."

Of course, Hansen's warnings made headlines around the world. Not only because "doom and gloom" sells, but because the mainstream media treats any claim about man-made global warming with the utmost credulity.

Snowman

Snow job in Antarctica - digging out the data source

It seems that folks are all "wild about Harry" over at Climate Audit, with the revelations occurring there, and no good kerfluffle would be complete without some pictures of the weather stations in question. It seems a weather station used in the Steig Antarctic study , aka "Harry", got buried under snow and also got confused with another station, Gill, in the dataset. As Steve McIntyre writes:
Gill is located on the Ross Ice Shelf at 79.92S 178.59W 25M and is completely unrelated to Harry. The 2005 inspection report observes:
2 February 2005 - Site visited. Site was difficult to locate by air; was finally found by scanning the horizon with binoculars. Station moved 3.8 nautical miles from the previous GPS position. The lower delta temperature sensor was buried .63 meters in the snow. The boom sensor was raised to 3.84 m above the surface from 1.57 m above the surface. Station was found in good working condition.
I didn't see any discussion in Steig et al on allowing for the effect of burying sensors in the snow on data homogeneity.

The difference between "old" Harry and "new" Harry can now be explained. "Old" Harry was actually "Gill", but, at least, even if mis-identified, it was only one series. "New" Harry is a splice of Harry into Gill - when Harry met Gill, the two became one, as it were.

Considered by itself, Gill has a slightly negative trend from 1987 to 2002. The big trend in "New Harry" arises entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together. It's a mess.
So not only is there a splice error, but the data itself may have been biased by snow burial.

Bizarro Earth

Rapid snowmelt triggers U.S. flooding

Rapid snowmelt and ice jams caused flooding in three northern U.S. states Monday while winds and rain lashed Southern California, meteorologists said.

Quickly rising temperatures in Pennsylvania, Ohio and western New York produced a flood of snowmelt, officials said. The Rocky River in suburban Cleveland overflowed its banks Sunday, flooding several houses, and giant ice floes pushed marina docks out into Lake Erie, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood watch through Thursday morning for three creeks in suburban Buffalo, N.Y., citing reports of ice jams following the snowmelt and recent warm temperatures. A flood warning was also in effect for Lawrence County, Pa., southeast of Youngstown, Ohio, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said.

Bizarro Earth

High winds shut down Paris airports

Stiff winds are keeping all planes on the ground at Paris airports until Tuesday morning, French officials said.

The French Civil Aviation Authority ordered Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports shut down from 8 p.m. Monday to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Travel Agent Central reported.

Air France asked its passengers to avoid traveling to the airports, the travel Web site said.

Bizarro Earth

Trees Migrating North Due to Warming

trees
© James P. Blair/NGSSugar maples stand interlaced with mist in West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest.
Other than the Ents of Lord of the Rings fame, trees generally aren't known for their mobility. So news that some tree species may be headed north at an average clip of 62 miles (100 kilometers) a century may come as a surprise.

At that rate, stands of yellow birch in the U.S., for example, may move well north of the Canadian border by the early 2100s.

That's the finding of a new study led by the U.S. Forest Service, which concludes that a few dozen tree species in the eastern U.S. are moving north at an unexpected rate, likely due to global warming.

In a paper appearing this month in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, the study authors documented the northward march of 40 major tree species over 30 eastern states based on the distribution of seedlings versus mature trees.