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Thread: Climate Change & Global Warming

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    Climate Change & Global Warming

    Cosmic ray link to global warming boosted

    The controversial idea that cosmic rays could be driving global warming by influencing cloud cover will get a boost at a conference next week. But some scientists dismiss the idea and are worried that it will detract from efforts to curb rising levels of greenhouse gases.

    At issue is whether cosmic rays, the high-energy particles spat out by exploding stars elsewhere in the galaxy, can affect the temperature on Earth. The suggestion is that cosmic rays crashing into the atmosphere ionise the molecules they collide with, triggering cloud formation.

    If the flux of cosmic rays drops, fewer clouds will form and the planet will warm up. No one yet understands the mechanism, which was first described in the late 1990s. But what makes it controversial is that climate models used to predict the consequences of rising levels of greenhouse gases do not allow for the effect, and may be inaccurate.

    Some proponents of the theory argue that changes in the number of cosmic rays reaching Earth can explain past climate change as well as global warming today. Nir Shaviv of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and Jan Veizer of the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, claimed in 2003 that changes in cosmic-ray flux are the major reason for temperature changes over the past 500 million years (GSA Today, July 2003, p 4).

    They argued that changes in carbon dioxide levels over the same period had a much smaller effect on temperature than previously assumed, suggesting that today's soaring levels of the greenhouse gas may have less impact than scientists anticipate. "It makes you think maybe it's a waste implementing the Kyoto Protocol and losing all those trillions of dollars," says Shaviv.

    Deflected rays

    After being strongly criticised, Shaviv will defend his calculations next week at the Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The idea will also be backed up by Nigel Marsh of the Danish Space Research Institute in Copenhagen.

    Marsh and his colleagues looked at satellite images of low-altitude clouds from the past 20 years. They noticed that the pattern of global cloud cover varied over a time scale of roughly 10 years, and found a correlation with the 11-year sunspot cycle.

    The more sunspot activity there is, the greater the strength of the sun's magnetic field. And cosmic rays are deflected by this field, so the stronger it is, the fewer rays reach the Earth, and the lower the cloud cover.

    The Copenhagen team also found that clouds were scarce near the equator and thicker towards the tropics. According to Marsh, this is because cosmic rays have a hard time punching through Earth's magnetic field at the equator, but can leak in through the relatively weaker field nearer the poles.

    "Artificially enhanced"

    But some climatologists believe that people are pushing the hypothesis that the Sun's magnetic field affects climate on Earth even though they lack the data to back it up.

    Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, was one of 11 authors who published a letter in January criticising Shaviv's paper, arguing that the researchers "applied several adjustments to the data to artificially enhance the correlation" (EOS, vol 85, p 38).

    "The main proponents are so wedded to the hypothesis that they think they just have to find the right correlation and then they are done," he says.

    The idea that cosmic rays influence climate "is one of only a few truly new theories in Earth science," says Steven Lloyd, an atmospheric scientist from the Johns Hopkins University in Laurel, Maryland, who will chair the session on cosmic rays and climate next week. But "the political implications of the research muddy the waters", he says.

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    Climate Change

    Major Climate Change Occurred 5,200 Years Ago: Evidence Suggests That History Could Repeat Itself

    Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson worries that he may have found clues that show history repeating itself, and if he is right, the result could have important implications to modern society.

    Thompson has spent his career trekking to the far corners of the world to find remote ice fields and then bring back cores drilled from their centers. Within those cores are the records of ancient climate from across the globe.

    From the mountains of data drawn by analyzing countless ice cores, and a meticulous review of sometimes obscure historic records, Thompson and his research team at Ohio State University are convinced that the global climate has changed dramatically.

    But more importantly, they believe it has happened at least once before, and the results were nearly catastrophic to emerging cultures at the time. He outlined his interpretations and fears today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

    A professor of geological sciences at Ohio State and a researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center, Thompson points to markers in numerous records suggesting that the climate was altered suddenly some 5,200 years ago with severe impacts.

    He points to perfectly preserved plants he discovered that recently emerged from the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes as that glacier retreats. This monstrous glacier, some 551 feet (168 meters) deep, has shown an exponentially increasing rate of retreat since his first observations in 1963.

    The plants were carbon-dated to determine their age and tests indicated they had been buried by the ice for perhaps 5,200 years. That suggests that somehow, the climate had shifted suddenly and severely to capture the plants and preserve them until now.

    In 1991, hikers found the preserved body of a man trapped in an Alpine glacier and freed as it retreated. Later tests showed that the human – dubbed Oetzi – became trapped and died around 5,200 years ago.

    Thompson points to a study of tree rings from Ireland and England that span a period of 7,000 years. The point in that record when the tree rings were narrowest – suggesting the driest period experienced by the trees – was approximately 5,200 years ago.

    He points to ice core records showing the ratio of two oxygen isotopes retrieved from the ice fields atop Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro. A proxy for atmospheric temperature at the time snow fell, the records are at their lowest 5,200 years before now.

    He lists the shift by the Sahara Desert from a habitable region to a barren desert; major changes in plant pollen uncovered from lakebed cores in South America, and the record lowest levels of methane retrieved from ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica and all occurred at the same time – 5,200 years ago.

    “Something happened back at this time and it was monumental,” Thompson said. “But it didn’t seem monumental to humans then because there were only approximately 250 million people occupying the planet, compared to the 6.4 billion we now have.

    “The evidence clearly points back to this point in history and to some event that occurred. It also points to similar changes occurring in today’s climate as well,” he said.

    “To me, these are things we really need to be concerned about.”
    The impact of a climate change of that magnitude on a modern world would be tremendous, he said. Seventy percent of the population lives in the world’s tropics and major climate changes would directly impact most of them.

    Thompson believes that the 5,200-year old event may have been caused by a dramatic fluctuation in solar energy reaching the earth. Scientists know that a historic global cooling called the Little Ice Age, from 1450 to 1850 A.D., coincided with two periods of decreased solar activity.

    Evidence shows that around 5,200 years ago, solar output first dropped precipitously and then surged over a short period. It is this huge solar energy oscillation that Thompson believes may have triggered the climate change he sees in all those records.

    “The climate system is remarkably sensitive to natural variability,” he said. “It’s likely that it is equally sensitive to effects brought on by human activity, changes like increased greenhouse gases, altered land-use policies and fossil-fuel dependence.

    “Any prudent person would agree that we don’t yet understand the complexities with the climate system and, since we don’t, we should be extremely cautious in how much we ‘tweak’ the system,” he said.

    “The evidence is clear that a major climate change is underway.”

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    Thumbs Down More global warming news!

    2004 among hottest on record
    U.N. reports 10 of the warmest years on record since 1990

    Thursday, December 16, 2004 Posted: 10:03 AM EST (1503 GMT)

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- The year 2004, punctuated by four powerful hurricanes in the Caribbean and deadly typhoons lashing Asia, was the fourth-hottest on record, extending a trend since 1990 that has registered the 10 warmest years, a U.N. weather agency said Wednesday.

    The current year was also the most expensive for the insurance industry in coping worldwide with hurricanes, typhoons and other weather-related natural disasters, according to new figures released by U.N. environmental officials.

    The release of the report by the World Meteorological Organization came as environmental ministers from some 80 countries gathered in Buenos Aires for a United Nations conference on climate change, looking at ways to cut down on greenhouse gases that some say contribute heavily to Earth's warming.

    Scientists say a sustained increase in temperature change is likely to continue disrupting the global climate, increasing the intensity of storms, potentially drying up farmlands and raising ocean levels, among other things.

    Michel Jarraud, the World Meteorological Organization secretary-general, said the warming and increased storm activity could not be attributed to any particular cause, but was part of a global warming trend that was likely to continue.

    Scientists have reported that temperatures across the globe rose an average of 1 degree over the past century with the rate of change since 1976 at roughly three times that over the past 100 years.

    The World Meteorological Organization said it expects Earth's average surface temperature to rise 0.8 degrees above the normal 57 degrees Fahrenheit in 2004, adding this year to a recent pattern that included the four warmest years on record, with the hottest being 1998.

    The month of October also registered as the warmest October since accurate readings began in 1861, said the agency, which is responsible for assembling data from meteorologists and climatologists worldwide.

    During the summer, heat waves in southern Europe pushed temperatures to near-record highs in southern Spain, Portugal and Romania, where thermostats peaked at 104 degrees while the rest of Europe sweltered through above-average temperatures.

    The extreme weather of 2004 extended to storms. Certain climate models predict more severe weather with the onset of global warming, but scientists say it is too early to tell if this year's storms are linked to climate change.

    The Caribbean had four hurricanes that reached Category 4 or 5 status -- those capable of causing extreme and catastrophic damage. It was only the fourth time in recent history that so many were recorded. The hurricanes of 2004 caused more than $43 billion in damages in the Caribbean and the United States.

    The worst damage was on Haiti, where as many as 1,900 people died from flooding and mudslides caused by Tropical Storm Jeanne in September.

    Japan and the Philippines also saw increased extreme tropical weather, with deadly typhoons lashing both islands. Japan registered a record number of typhoons making landfall this year with 10, while back-to-back storms in the Philippines killed at least 740 people in the wettest year for the globe since 2000, the U.N. agency said.

    Statistics released at the climate change conference showed that natural disasters across the world in the first 10 months of the year cost the insurance industry just over $35 billion, up from $16 billion in 2003.

    Munich Re, one of the world's biggest insurance companies, said the United States tallied the highest losses at more than $26 billion, while small developing nations such as the Caribbean islands of Grenada and Grand Cayman were also hit hard.

    Other parts of the world also witnessed extreme weather, with droughts occurring in the western United States, parts of Africa, Afghanistan, Australia and India. Jarraud, of the U.N. weather agency, said the droughts were part of what appears to be a surge over the last decade.

    The prolonged rising temperatures and deadly storms were matched by harsh winters in other regions. Peru, Chile, and southern Argentina were all hit with severe cold and snow during June and July.

    Jarraud said the high temperatures like those seen in parts of Europe this year were expected to inch up in the coming years.

    Citing recent studies by European climatologists, Jarraud said heat waves in Europe "could over the next 50 years become four or five times as frequent as they are now."

    Earlier spring from global warming, say researchers

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004 Posted: 9:53 AM EST (1453 GMT)

    ITHACA, New York (AP) -- As the first signs of winter push into the Northeast, researchers have some good news for fair weather fans -- spring is coming earlier than it used to.

    The lilacs say so.

    In one of the most comprehensive studies that plants in the Northeast are responding to the global warming trend, Cornell scientists and their colleagues at the University of Wisconsin found lilacs are blooming about four days earlier than they did in 1965.

    David Wolfe, a plant ecology professor at Cornell whose research will be published in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Biometeorology, said nature's calendar is changing due to an increase in greenhouse gases.

    "It's not just the weather data telling us there is a warming trend going on. We are now seeing the living world responding to the climate change as well," Wolfe said Tuesday.

    The Cornell study is consistent with other examinations involving the biological impact of rising temperatures, but those studies have been much more limited in geographic scope.

    Earlier this year, Harvard University scientists also reported finding evidence of earlier flowering in specimens at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, while botanists at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. found the city's Japanese cherry trees are blooming about a week earlier than they were 30 years ago.

    According to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell, the average annual temperature in the Northeast has increased by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, which is slightly higher than the global average of 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The greatest rate of warming, though, has occurred during the winter months (December to February) with an average increase of almost 3 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 100 years -- a rate that has accelerated over the past 30 years to 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit, Wolfe said.

    Cornell researchers analyzed data from 72 locations throughout the Northeast where genetically identical lilacs were planted during the 1960s and 1970s as part of a joint U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded project involving Cornell and the University of Vermont.

    The lilacs were planted to help farmers predict planting and harvest dates, but have now provided scientists with a historical record of bloom dates.

    The Cornell study also included apples and grapes at four sites in New York, which Wolfe said were blooming six to eight days earlier than in 1965.

    While some may revel over an earlier-arriving spring, Wolfe cautioned that the warming trend has many implications -- and not all good.

    It could, for example, favor some invasive species and alter important interactions between plants and pollinators, insect pests, diseases and weeds.

    "If the interdependence and synchrony between animals and plants are disrupted, the very survival of some species could be threatened," Wolfe said.

    Climate change also could affect plant and bird migration patterns, animals' hibernation patterns, reproductive cycles, woodland composition, plant pathogens and the availability of plant food for insects and animals.

    On the positive side, the warming trend is extending the growing season in the Northeast by several days -- although hotter summers can negatively affect some crops, such as apples and grapes.

    Most scientists anticipate the increase in greenhouse gases -- and subsequently, the warming trend -- will continue, so it's important researchers more broadly monitor the consequences for crops, animals and natural areas, Wolfe said.

    Heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are produced mainly by industry, automobiles and power plants. Climatologists say the gases absorb infrared radiation and trap heat in the atmosphere.

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    Post Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse now: how mankind is sleepwalking to the end of the Earth Floods, storms and droughts. Melting Arctic ice, shrinking glaciers,
    oceans turning to acid. The world's top scientists warned last week
    that dangerous climate change is taking place today, not the day after
    tomorrow. You don't believe it? Then, says Geoffrey Lean, read this...

    06 February 2005

    Future historians, looking back from a much hotter and less hospitable
    world, are likely to play special attention to the first few weeks of
    2005. As they puzzle over how a whole generation could have
    sleepwalked into disaster - destroying the climate that has allowed
    human civilisation to flourish over the past 11,000 years - they may
    well identify the past weeks as the time when the last alarms sounded.

    Last week, 200 of the world's leading climate scientists - meeting at
    Tony Blair's request at the Met Office's new headquarters at Exeter -
    issued the most urgent warning to date that dangerous climate change
    is taking place, and that time is running out.

    Next week the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty that tries to
    control global warming, comes into force after a seven-year delay. But
    it is clear that the protocol does not go nearly far enough.

    The alarms have been going off since the beginning of one of the
    warmest Januaries on record. First, Dr Rajendra Pachauri - chairman of
    the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - told a
    UN conference in Mauritius that the pollution which causes global
    warming has reached "dangerous" levels.

    Then the biggest-ever study of climate change, based at Oxford
    University, reported that it could prove to be twice as catastrophic
    as the IPCC's worst predictions. And an international task force -
    also reporting to Tony Blair, and co-chaired by his close ally,
    Stephen Byers - concluded that we could reach "the point of no return"
    in a decade.

    Finally, the UK head of Shell, Lord Oxburgh, took time out - just
    before his company reported record profits mainly achieved by selling
    oil, one of the main causes of the problem - to warn that unless
    governments take urgent action there "will be a disaster".

    But it was last week at the Met Office's futuristic glass
    headquarters, incongruously set in a dreary industrial estate on the
    outskirts of Exeter, that it all came together. The conference had
    been called by the Prime Minister to advise him on how to "avoid
    dangerous climate change". He needed help in persuading the world to
    prioritise the issue this year during Britain's presidencies of the EU
    and the G8 group of economic powers.

    The conference opened with the Secretary of State for the Environment,
    Margaret Beckett, warning that "a significant impact" from global
    warming "is already inevitable". It continued with presentations from
    top scientists and economists from every continent. These showed that
    some dangerous climate change was already taking place and that
    catastrophic events once thought highly improbable were now seen as
    likely (see panel). Avoiding the worst was technically simple and
    economically cheap, they said, provided that governments could be
    persuaded to take immediate action.

    About halfway through I realised that I had been here before. In the
    summer of 1986 the world's leading nuclear experts gathered in Vienna
    for an inquest into the accident at Chernobyl. The head of the Russian
    delegation showed a film shot from a helicopter, and we suddenly found
    ourselves gazing down on the red-hot exposed reactor core.

    It was all, of course, much less dramatic at Exeter. But as paper
    followed learned paper, once again a group of world authorities were
    staring at a crisis they had devoted their lives to trying to avoid.

    I am willing to bet there were few in the room who did not sense their
    children or grandchildren standing invisibly at their shoulders. The
    conference formally concluded that climate change was "already
    occurring" and that "in many cases the risks are more serious than
    previously thought". But the cautious scientific language scarcely
    does justice to the sense of the meeting.

    We learned that glaciers are shrinking around the world. Arctic sea
    ice has lost almost half its thickness in recent decades. Natural
    disasters are increasing rapidly around the world. Those caused by the
    weather - such as droughts, storms, and floods - are rising three
    times faster than those - such as earthquakes - that are not.

    We learned that bird populations in the North Sea collapsed last year,
    after the sand eels on which they feed left its warmer waters - and
    how the number of scientific papers recording changes in ecosystems
    due to global warming has escalated from 14 to more than a thousand in
    five years.

    Worse, leading scientists warned of catastrophic changes that once
    they had dismissed as "improbable". The meeting was particularly
    alarmed by powerful evidence, first reported in The Independent on
    Sunday last July, that the oceans are slowly turning acid, threatening
    all marine life (see panel).

    Professor Chris Rapley, director of the British Antarctic Survey,
    presented new evidence that the West Antarctic ice sheet is beginning
    to melt, threatening eventually to raise sea levels by 15ft: 90 per
    cent of the world's people live near current sea levels. Recalling
    that the IPCC's last report had called Antarctica "a slumbering
    giant", he said: "I would say that this is now an awakened giant."

    Professor Mike Schlesinger, of the University of Illinois, reported
    that the shutdown of the Gulf Stream, once seen as a "low probability
    event", was now 45 per cent likely this century, and 70 per cent
    probable by 2200. If it comes sooner rather than later it will be
    catastrophic for Britain and northern Europe, giving us a climate like
    Labrador (which shares our latitude) even as the rest of the world
    heats up: if it comes later it could be beneficial, moderating the
    worst of the warming.

    The experts at Exeter were virtually unanimous about the danger,
    mirroring the attitude of the climate science community as a whole:
    humanity is to blame. There were a few sceptics at Exeter, including
    Andrei Illarionov, an adviser to Russia's President Putin, who last
    year called the Kyoto Protocol "an interstate Auschwitz". But in truth
    it is much easier to find sceptics among media pundits in London or
    neo-cons in Washington than among climate scientists. Even the few
    contrarian climatalogists publish little research to support their
    views, concentrating on questioning the work of others.

    Now a new scientific consensus is emerging - that the warming must be
    kept below an average increase of two degrees centigrade if
    catastrophe is to be avoided. This almost certainly involves keeping
    concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change,
    below 400 parts per million.

    Unfortunately we are almost there, with concentrations exceeding
    370ppm and rising, but experts at the conference concluded that we
    could go briefly above the danger level so long as we brought it down
    rapidly afterwards. They added that this would involve the world
    reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 - and rich countries cutting
    theirs by 30 per cent by 2020.

    Economists stressed there is little time for delay. If action is put
    off for a decade, it will need to be twice as radical; if it has to
    wait 20 years, it will cost between three and seven times as much.

    The good news is that it can be done with existing technology, by
    cutting energy waste, expanding the use of renewable sources, growing
    trees and crops (which remove carbon dioxide from the air) to turn
    into fuel, capturing the gas before it is released from power
    stations, and - maybe - using more nuclear energy.

    The better news is that it would not cost much: one estimate suggested
    the cost would be about 1 per cent of Europe's GNP spread over 20
    years; another suggested it meant postponing an expected fivefold
    increase in world wealth by just two years. Many experts believe
    combatting global warming would increase prosperity, by bringing in
    new technologies.

    The big question is whether governments will act. President Bush's
    opposition to international action remains the greatest obstacle. Tony
    Blair, by almost universal agreement, remains the leader with the best
    chance of persuading him to change his mind.

    But so far the Prime Minister has been more influenced by the
    President than the other way round. He appears to be moving away from
    fighting for the pollution reductions needed in favour of agreeing on
    a vague pledge to bring in new technologies sometime in the future.

    By then it will be too late. And our children and grandchildren will
    wonder - as we do in surveying, for example, the drift into the First
    World War - "how on earth could they be so blind?"


    What could happen? Wars break out over diminishing water resources as
    populations grow and rains fail.

    How would this come about? Over 25 per cent more people than at
    present are expected to live in countries where water is scarce in the
    future, and global warming will make it worse.

    How likely is it? Former UN chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali has long said
    that the next Middle East war will be fought for water, not oil.


    What could happen? Low-lying island such as the Maldives and Tuvalu -
    with highest points only a few feet above sea-level - will disappear
    off the face of the Earth.

    How would this come about? As the world heats up, sea levels are
    rising, partly because glaciers are melting, and partly because the
    water in the oceans expands as it gets warmer.

    How likely is it? Inevitable. Even if global warming stopped today,
    the seas would continue to rise for centuries. Some small islands have
    already sunk for ever. A year ago, Tuvalu was briefly submerged.


    What could happen? London, New York, Tokyo, Bombay, many other cities
    and vast areas of countries from Britain to Bangladesh disappear under
    tens of feet of water, as the seas rise dramatically.

    How would this come about? Ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica melt.
    The Greenland ice sheet would raise sea levels by more than 20ft, the
    West Antarctic ice sheet by another 15ft.

    How likely is it? Scientists used to think it unlikely, but this year
    reported that the melting of both ice caps had begun. It will take
    hundreds of years, however, for the seas to rise that much.


    What could happen? Global warming escalates to the point where the
    world's whole climate abruptly switches, turning it permanently into a
    much hotter and less hospitable planet.

    How would this come about? A process involving "positive feedback"
    causes the warming to fuel itself, until it reaches a point that
    finally tips the climate pattern over.

    How likely is it? Abrupt flips have happened in the prehistoric past.
    Scientists believe this is unlikely, at least in the foreseeable
    future, but increasingly they are refusing to rule it out.


    What could happen? Famously wet tropical forests, such as those in the
    Amazon, go up in flames, destroying the world's richest wildlife
    habitats and releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide to speed global

    How would this come about? Britain's Met Office predicted in 1999 that
    much of the Amazon will dry out and die within 50 years, making it
    ready for sparks - from humans or lightning - to set it ablaze.

    How likely is it? Very, if the predictions turn out to be right.
    Already there have been massive forest fires in Borneo and Amazonia,
    casting palls of highly polluting smoke over vast areas.


    What could happen? Britain and northern Europe get much colder because
    the Gulf Stream, which provides as much heat as the sun in winter,

    How would this come about? Melting polar ice sends fresh water into
    the North Atlantic. The less salty water fails to generate the
    underwater current which the Gulf Stream needs.

    How likely is it? About

    evens for a Gulf Steam failure this century, said scientists last


    What could happen? Food production collapses in Africa, for example,
    as rainfall dries up and droughts increase. As farmland turns to
    desert, people flee in their millions in search of food.

    How would this come about? Rainfall is expected to decrease by up to
    60 per cent in winter and 30 per cent in summer in southern Africa
    this century. By some estimates, Zambia could lose almost all its

    How likely is it? Pretty likely unless the world tackles both global
    warming and Africa's decline. Scientists agree that droughts will
    increase in a warmer world.


    What could happen? The seas will gradually turn more and more acid.
    Coral reefs, shellfish and plankton, on which all life depends, will
    die off. Much of the life of the oceans will become extinct.

    How would this come about? The oceans have absorbed half the carbon
    dioxide, the main cause of global warming, so far emitted by humanity.
    This forms dilute carbonic acid, which attacks corals and shells.

    How likely is it? It is already starting. Scientists warn that the
    chemistry of the oceans is changing in ways unprecedented for 20
    million years. Some predict that the world's coral reefs will die
    within 35 years.


    What could happen? Malaria - which kills two million people worldwide
    every year - reaches Britain with foreign travellers, gets picked up
    by British mosquitos and becomes endemic in the warmer climate.

    How would this come about? Four of our 40 mosquito species can carry
    the disease, and hundreds of travellers return with it annually. The
    insects breed faster, and feed more, in warmer temperatures.

    How likely is it? A Department of Health study has suggested it may
    happen by 2050: the Environment Agency has mentioned 2020. Some
    experts say it is miraculous that it has not happened already.


    What could happen? Hurricanes, typhoons and violent storms
    proliferate, grow even fiercer, and hit new areas. Last September's
    repeated battering of Florida and the Caribbean may be just a
    foretaste of what is to come, say scientists.

    How would this come about? The storms gather their energy from warm
    seas, and so, as oceans heat up, fiercer ones occur and threaten areas
    where at present the seas are too cool for such weather.

    How likely is it? Scientists are divided over whether storms will get
    more frequent and whether the process has already begun.

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    Post Re: Apocalypse Now

    I was trying to keep up on certain weather related things in the first 2 months of this year. Some strange things sure have happened. Here are some of the reports I had collated (I have since stopped.)

    -Oxnard, California: tornado.

    -United Arab Emirates: reports of the first snow fall on record.

    -Sweden: still has zero snow fall since the start of winter and experiencing 45 degree weather at night.

    -India: extinct volcano Narcondum erupts.

    -Dundee, United Kingdom: 90 mph winds.
    -North Carolina: record high of 76 degrees (50 is average)
    -New Zealand: coldest temperatures in 59 years; snow, frost, hail and a tornado mark the beginning of the summer season.

    -Sweden: hurricane kills 9 people.

    -South Pacific: US Navy submarine collides with an undersea mountain that was not on the charts.

    -Moscow, Russia: warmest temperatures on record.
    -Venice, Italy: water levels -65 centimeters from normal.

    -Algiers, Algeria: worst blizzard in 50 years.

    -Andaman Islands/Nicobar Islands, India: 28 "aftershocks" in 24 hours ranging between 5.0 and 5.8 and 166 since 12-26-2004.

    -Ecuador: 320 tremors at an average of 4.0 have hit since 01-20-2005.
    -Moscow, Russia: experienced heaviest snowfall on record.

    -Brisbane, Australia: dust storm
    -Canberra, Australia: snowed on the Brindabella mountain ranges (not on record for summer)
    -Melbourne, Australia: coldest February day on record; earthquakes reported and debunked as being caused by thunder, a power pole exploding and a meteor???
    -Richmond, Australia: winds at 50 knots.
    -Sydney, Australia: hail the size of golf balls.
    NOTE: It is summer in Australia

    And aside from this I also have a couple of moon/sun sightings being off their projected azmuth/minutes I can post if anyone is interested.

    And the interesting thing is that if you notice, Moscow reports highest temperature AND heaviest snowfall on record in less than 3 weeks.

  7. #7

  8. #8
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    Post Re: Apocalypse Now

    I am under the distinct impression that "global warming" is a natural occuring event that precedes ice ages. It lasts for hundreds of years before it become cold. History shows that ice ages generally happen every several thousand years, and historical texts as well as scientific evidence show that abnormal periods of weather had occurred before the "frozen" period. From the best (averaged) estimations, we are overdue for another ice age. I believe the cycle is something like 3600 years or so, give or take a couple hundred years.

  9. #9

    Alternatives to Ozone-Depleting Chemicals also Contributing to Climate Change

    April 12, 2005 — By Bradley S. Klapper, Associated Press

    GENEVA — Alternatives to ozone-depleting chemicals in products like pesticides and aerosols are also contributing to climate change, according to a U.N. report released Monday.

    Many of the more ozone-friendly chemicals were first put into products nearly a decade ago as part of a global accord on reducing the use of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, that deplete the earth's protective ozone layer.

    But since the Montreal Protocol went into effect in 1997, the less-harmful chemicals have accounted for about 5 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, said the report from the United Nations Environment Program.

    "There can be no trade-offs between saving the ozone layer and minimizing climate change," said UNEP Director Klaus Toepfer.

    The UNEP's 31-page report outlined steps governments can take to curtail the use of these chemicals.

    The agency suggests governments promote the containment of chemicals to prevent leaks, more recycling and the destruction of dangerous substances. It also suggests the use of alternatives such as ammonia and the development of new technologies that avoid harmful gasses.

    Although there are few regulations for these types of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol or the Kyoto Protocol -- an international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions -- the UNEP believes that action on its proposals could halve the effect of these chemicals by 2015.

    "When the CFCs were phased out, there was a preference for these new replacements," said Bert Metz, a climate change expert who contributed to the report. "But the (replacements) are strong greenhouse gases."

    "Initially, it was thought these were an ideal solution -- obviously that was not the case if they were contributing to another problem."

    While CFCs contribute more per unit to global warming, the rapid increase in the use of replacement chemicals makes them now the greater threat to climate stability, Metz told the AP in a telephone interview.

    Governments should start thinking about how to replace these chemicals, he said, adding that a possible amendment to the Montreal Protocol setting reduction targets for them chemicals could serve as a starting point.

    "These (chemicals) are rapidly growing right now," Metz said. "The amounts stored in equipment ten years from now will be a fivefold increase from today."

    While it will take decades to purge the atmosphere, experts said last September that the ozone hole over Antarctica was markedly smaller for the second straight year, at 11 million square miles (28 million square kilometers), down from the huge 17 million square mile (44 million square kilometers) hole of 2002.

    The Kyoto global warming pact, which went into force February, imposes legally binding requirements on 35 industrialized states to cut emissions of greenhouse gases an average of 5 percent below 1990 levels.

    Average global temperatures rose about 1 degree in the 20th century, and scientists say that has contributed to the thawing of the permafrost, rising ocean levels and extreme weather. Experts say further increases could seriously disrupt ecosystems, agriculture and human lifestyles.

    Source: Associated Press

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    Dissapearing Arctic lakes linked To climate change

    Continued arctic warming may be causing a decrease in the number and size of Arctic lakes. The issue is the subject of a paper published in the June 3 issue of the journal "Science." The paper, titled, "Disappearing Arctic Lakes" is the result of a comparison of satellite data taken of Siberia in the early 1970s to data from 1997-2004. Researchers, including Larry Hinzman with the Water and Environmental Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, tracked changes of more than 10,000 large lakes over 200,000 square miles.

    "This is the first paper that demonstrates that the changes we are seeing in Alaskan lakes in response to a warming climate is also occurring in Siberia," said Hinzman, who has also compared satellite data of tundra ponds on the Seward Peninsula near Council, Alaska and found that the surface pond area there had decreased over the last 50 years.

    In this latest study, comparing data from 1973 with findings from 1997-98, the total number of large lakes decreased by around 11 percent. While many did not disappear completely they shrank significantly. The overall loss of lake surface area was a loss of approximately 6 percent. In addition, 125 lakes vanished completely and are now re-vegetated.

    Laurence Smith, an associate professor of geography at the University of California Los Angeles, is the article's lead author. Smith and his co-authors were surprised by the overall loss in surface water.

    "We were expecting the lake area to have grown with climate change," said Smith. "And while it did do so in the north where the permafrost remains intact, lake area did not increase in the south where permafrost is warming."

    In permafrost regions, summer thaw produces meltwater, which is typically unable to infiltrate into the ground because of the ice-rich frozen soils found in permafrost. Data gathered from the latest measurements indicate that warming temperatures lead to increased numbers of surface water bodies in the colder permafrost regions.

    Many lakes decreased in size or dried up completely, while other lakes actually increased in size. Researchers say as the climate warms, additional meltwater accumulated in the lakes located in the colder regions of thicker permafrost increase their size; however, if climate warming continues, even those lakes would eventually be susceptible to loss.

    "We expect areas of continuous permafrost to continue to thin and move steadily northward, resulting in the disappearance of more lakes," said Smith.

    In regions with thin or discontinuous permafrost, surface soils also become drier as the permafrost degrades.

    "The changing lakes are a consistent, measurable indication of the overall changes to hydrology in the Arctic," said Hinzman. "The loss of surface water will inevitably impact local ecosystems, which will have a cascading effect. Changes could include loss of migratory bird habitat resulting in an effect on subsistence activities as well as changes to local and regional atmospheric conditions, including more localized wind and more frequent and more severe wildland fires."

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